Senate GOP to meet, discuss ObamaCare repeal

Senate GOP to meet, discuss ObamaCare repeal
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Senate Republicans will meet Monday evening to discuss plans to pass an ObamaCare repeal package later this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (R-Ky.) is convening the meeting to walk through the special budgetary process known as reconciliation, which will allow Republicans to pass the package with a simple-majority vote.


Controversial legislation usually must overcome a 60-vote threshold.

But McConnell may not even have 51 votes because several GOP moderates don’t like an added provision defunding Planned Parenthood — and several conservatives think the core bill doesn’t go far enough to repeal ObamaCare.

“We’re regrouping with the expectation that we're moving this week on it,” said a Senate GOP aide, who described the meeting as “a final get-together to find out where we are so we can move with ObamaCare repeal.”

If all goes well at the special meeting, scheduled after a 5:30 p.m. vote, the Senate is likely to vote Wednesday on a motion to proceed to the package.

That vote would be followed by 20 hours of debate and then a succession of votes on amendments and final passage — a so-called vote-a-rama — on Thursday.

Senate GOP leaders are expected to discuss an amendment to the bill that will allow it to survive procedural problems raised by the parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough.

MacDonough ruled last month that language in the House-passed ObamaCare repeal measure, which McConnell is bringing straight to the floor, fails to pass a litmus test known as the Byrd Rule. This rule determines what can pass with a simple majority under reconciliation.

Specifically, she has raised red flags over provisions repealing the individual and employer mandates requiring people to buy and companies to offer health insurance.

Senate GOP leaders are also expected to discuss new language that would broaden the scope of the repeal passed in October by the House.

Three conservatives — Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape O'Rourke says he will not 'in any scenario' run for Senate MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Fla.), both of whom are running for president, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — have issued a joint statement pledging to oppose the House bill because it does not go far enough.

The House package leaves ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid in place and also leaves intact hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes as wells as an expensive subsidy program for people who buy insurance through government-run exchanges.

Three moderates, Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkAdvocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Funding the fight against polio Ex-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby MORE (R-Ill.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move MORE (R-Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate Senate braces for brawl over Trump's spy chief Congress kicks bipartisan energy innovation into higher gear MORE (R-Alaska), oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, which is part of the package.

They will have an opportunity to vote on an amendment to strike it from the bill, according to Senate sources.