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Senate Considers Using Budget Procedure to Undo Parts of Affordable Care Act

McConnell hints at fast track to repeal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that the Senate will consider using a fast-track budget procedure to repeal some of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) but declined to say when that may take place, according to an article posted on the Politico website.

GOP leaders have not made a final decision on how to use the powerful procedural tool, called reconciliation, which allows the Senate to avoid a filibuster and pass legislation with just a simple majority. Many Republicans, particularly the conservative wings in both chambers, would like to use the maneuver to attack the PPACA.

McConnell signaled that the PPACA was a likely reconciliation option, but did not make a firm commitment.

“We’re certainly going to consider using budget reconciliation for repealing as much of Obamacare as is reconcilable,” McConnell told reporters. “There are certain rules that have to be applied to what is reconcilable, and that’s in active consideration, as you can imagine.”

McConnell also did not lay out a time frame. The Senate committee chairmen with oversight of health care have said that they have no plans to report reconciliation legislation by the July 24 deadline set out in the budget. But Senate aides say that reconciliation legislation can be brought up at any time and that the deadline, if missed, won’t prevent action in the future.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the fourth-ranking Senate Republican who is the point person on health care, also declined to lay out a timeline for how GOP lawmakers will use reconciliation. But he stressed that the “focus” of reconciliation was to dismantle the PPACA.

Even if Republicans use reconciliation to send President Barack Obama a repeal of his signature health care law, he’s sure to veto it. And there are enough Democrats in the Senate to uphold that veto.

Source: Politico; July 14, 2015.

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