July 26, 2017
After weeks of anticipation, the Senate GOP finally won the right to debate their health care repeal. There was just one problem: no one was quite sure which bill they were debating. As the night wore on, it turned out to be several.
By the narrowest of margins (51-50), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) squeaked through a motion to proceed -- no thanks to liberal defectors Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). That may have been the easy part, as the Senate moved to a series of proposals all meant to topple the major pieces of Obamacare. Although leaders have the ability to bring it up again, McConnell's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) failed for now, 43-57, sending the chamber to debates over Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which also flopped.
Day Two kicked off this morning with another version of repeal: the 2015 budget reconciliation bill. In the absence of a replacement plan, FRC has been a fan of this strategy from the beginning. It guts the majority of Obama's failed law and hollows out 80 percent of Planned Parenthood's funding -- two of voters' biggest priorities heading into last November. What's more, Congress has passed the measure before.
Unfortunately for conservatives, the bill hit a snag heading into the afternoon. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered the measure, but leaders postponed the vote at the last minute in a dispute over the pro-life language. Daily News explains, "The amendment includes additions to the original template, though: a ban on government-subsidized plans to cover abortion, which was included in both the House-passed American Health Care Act and the Senate's failed Better Care Reconciliation Act; and a tweak to the 2015 Planned Parenthood language since the parliamentarian had ruled the language used previously would require 60 votes. According to a Democratic memo, the amendment would lower the federal payment threshold in the provision from $1 million to $350,000 in order to broaden the number of entities for which funding would be restricted."
It's just another bump on the rocky road to repeal for Senate Republicans, who are desperate to put something on the president's desk that makes good on seven years of promises. "Obamacare is torturing the American People. The Democrats have fooled the people long enough. Repeal or Repeal & Replace! I have pen in hand," President Trump invited. To that end, FRC will continue to support our friends in the Senate who are fighting to undo this devastating law before it undoes America!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.