Healthcare

Three GOP senators threaten to vote against ObamaCare repeal bill

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Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are vowing to oppose any fast-track bill repealing only parts of ObamaCare, narrowing the path for the legislation to pass the Senate.

The House is set to vote on Friday on a bill under a fast-track process known as reconciliation that would repeal several parts of ObamaCare. The reconciliation process allows a measure to pass the Senate with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60, and get through to President Obama’s desk, where it would face a veto.

{mosads}But the three senators — two of whom, Cruz and Rubio, are running for president — are vowing to oppose the House measure because it doesn’t go far enough.

“On Friday the House of Representatives is set to vote on a reconciliation bill that repeals only parts of Obamacare,” the senators said in a joint statement. “This simply isn’t good enough. Each of us campaigned on a promise to fully repeal Obamacare and a reconciliation bill is the best way to send such legislation to President Obama’s desk.

“If this bill cannot be amended so that it fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules, we cannot support this bill,” the senators continue. “With millions of Americans now getting health premium increase notices in the mail, we owe our constituents nothing less.”

Their opposition puts the bill’s future in doubt. There are 54 Republican senators, so if Cruz, Rubio, and Lee vote no, Republicans could only afford to lose one more vote and still have a simple majority.

Centrist Republicans such as Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Susan Collins (Maine) have indicated opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood, which is also part of the reconciliation bill.

Republican leaders have indicated that the reconciliation process cannot be used to repeal all of ObamaCare because of Senate rules. Those rules limit the procedure to spending and revenue matters.

House Republicans on Wednesday dropped repeal of the healthcare law’s Medicare cost-cutting board from the bill because of concerns from the Senate parliamentarian, who makes the rulings on what can be included in the process.

The House bill would repeal ObamaCare’s individual and employer mandates, as well as its taxes on medical devices and high-cost health plans; it defunds Planned Parenthood for one year.

The bill has not encountered much resistance on the House side.

“We’d like to have more,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) said earlier Thursday. “So much of it is obviously because of this sort of unusual, kind of an archaic rule for reconciliation. We want to get as much as we can get in, but look, if this thing actually got signed into law it would completely blow a hole in ObamaCare.”

Fleming is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and said he and most members of the caucus would vote for the reconciliation bill.

“There may be one or two of our members who don’t [vote for it] for some very personal reason they have,” he said. “But I would say the vast majority of us will.”

Tags John Fleming Marco Rubio Mark Kirk Mike Lee Susan Collins Ted Cruz

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