WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Sunday session of the U.S. Senate, an amendment brought by Senate Republicans that would serve to repeal the president’s health care law – by inclusion of the repeal provisions in a highway funding bill – failed, 49-43, predictably across party lines, with eight senators, five Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent, absent or not voting. The amendment required a three-fifths Senate vote to add the repeal provisions to a highway funding bill.
In a statement released Friday by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, he said the Sunday vote would have a 60-vote threshold and Democrats would likely block it. But, he said, Republicans would have the opportunity to resurrect the repeal amendment later on in the process, when a simple-majority vote of the Senate would apply.
Following the vote Sunday, Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, issued the following statement:
The fight to repeal Obamacare is not over. It’s regrettable Democrats yet again blocked efforts to repeal and replace this disastrous law. Right now, headlines across the nation are pointing to the law’s Achilles heel – its fundamental inability to reduce skyrocketing healthcare premiums. Because of this, we should use every opportunity moving forward to strike away at the law while working towards a place and time when we can repeal the law in its entirety and replace it with patient-centered reforms.
Lee released the following statement Monday in advance of Senate consideration of a Republican Leader amendment to fully repeal Obamacare.
Earlier this year, I joined with my Senate Republican colleagues to pass a Budget Resolution that included reconciliation instructions to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority vote in the Senate.
Then last week, Republican Leaders offered an amendment to fully repeal Obamacare on a House-passed partial-repeal bill, thereby creating the same opportunity, to pass repeal legislation with only 51 votes. I immediately announced my intention to pursue that vote on the floor, consistent with Senate Rule XXII.
But like many of my colleagues, I believe the reconciliation option is a far superior strategy because it has the potential to pass both houses of Congress and reach the president’s desk – which has been my goal all along.
Therefore, if Senate Republican leaders publicly commit to using budget reconciliation this year to repeal Obamacare, I will join that effort and withdraw my plan for a vote tonight.
Hatch, along with Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Fred Upton are co-authors of the Patient CARE Act, a legislative plan that repeals “Obamacare” and, according to a release from Hatch’s office Sunday, replaces it with cost-addressing measures. On July 22, Hatch wrote an op-ed for CNN.com in which he detailed his opinion on why the failure of health law to address costs threatens the law’s long term viability.
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