Obamacare Repeal Fails Early in Senate'sHealthcare Debate
The Senate rejected a simple repeal of Obamacare on Wednesday, still in the early stages of an unpredictable floor debate on health care amid significant doubts that Republicans can muster the 50 votes needed to pass any kind of bill.
GOP leaders are holding votes on a slew of different health proposals this week to see how close they can get to passing something. The amendment defeated 45-55 Wednesday was similar to the Affordable Care Act repeal that passed Congress in 2015 and was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama.
"It’s really the only piece of legislation" that can force Republicans and Democrats to sit down and work on a compromise, GOP Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who backed the simple repeal, told reporters before the vote.
This week’s debate on amendments -- which will be punctuated with skirmishes over obscure rules and parliamentary challenges -- will culminate in an all-night “vote-a-rama” later this week that could feature dozens, or even hundreds, of amendment votes.
At the end of it, Republican leaders hope to be able to pass a health measure, even if it’s just a slimmed-down Obamacare repeal that only scraps a handful of the law’s most unpopular provisions.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, said GOP leaders are exploring a scaled-back repeal plan that can pass and be sent to conference negotiations with the House, which has a broad bill. That could open doors to restoring Senate provisions that can’t pass this time, he said.
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