Senate plans vote on partial ObamaCare repeal next month

Senate plans vote on partial ObamaCare repeal next month
© Greg Nash

The Senate is planning a budget vote to repeal major ObamaCare mandates and defund Planned Parenthood as early as November, the No. 2 Republican said Wednesday.

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday New legislation required to secure US semiconductor leadership GOP skeptical of polling on Trump MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Wednesday that the chamber would hold a “vote-a-rama” on the massive budget bill, known as reconciliation, in the upcoming weeks.`

Cornyn said he hopes it would take place in the week before Thanksgiving. That gives just three weeks for a so-called “Byrd bath” in the Senate — a close examination of budget bills by the chamber’s parliamentarian to ensure that each provision relates to the budget.

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“My expectation is that it’d be sometime this fall,” Cornyn told reporters, according to Politico and CQ Roll Call. “The week or so before Thanksgiving looks like a good opportunity.”

A spokesman for Cornyn said Wednesday afternoon he did not have additional details on timing.

Using the structure of a vote-a-rama — which is also a mostly symbolic part of the annual budget process — could help bolster support for the bill, which has become a flashpoint for debate among the Senate GOP’s right flank.

Three senators — presidential candidates Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump administration grants funding extension for Texas testing sites Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioJennifer Aniston urges fans to 'wear a damn mask:' 'It really shouldn't be a debate' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus MORE (Fla.), as well as Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate panel votes 21-1 to back Justice IG measure over Graham objections Senators offer bill to expand charitable giving tax break Overnight Energy: Senate passes major lands conservation bill | Mnuchin ordered to give Native American tribes full stimulus funding | Key Republican jeopardizes Trump consumer safety nominee MORE (Utah) — have vowed to oppose the bill because it does not fully repeal ObamaCare. House GOP leaders have said a full repeal was not possible, and their legislation was written with the intent of following Senate rules.

Meanwhile, moderate Republican senators, such as Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans MORE (Maine), have raised concerns with the moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding. Collins said in a statement to The Hill last week that she would need to “examine the impact of the entire bill” before deciding whether to support it.

“At this point, we are not certain whether this bill or a version amended by the Senate Finance Committee or the Senate HELP Committee would come before the Senate for a vote,” she wrote.

The decision about whether the legislation satisfies the Byrd rule standards is made by Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, an appointee of Senate GOP leadership. She has raised concerns throughout the reconciliation, and just last week prompted the GOP to drop one piece of ObamaCare repeal — a cost-cutting Medicare panel — from its bill.

Under the Senate’s rules, reconciliation bills can pass with a simple majority vote, allowing the GOP to check off their campaign promise of forcing the president to veto legislation that would signature his signature healthcare law.