October 29, 2015
After months of internal debate, the House passed a budget-reconciliation bill last Friday taking aim at Obamacare, but it is far from assured that the bill, or even an amended version of it, will ever emerge from the Senate.
Budget-reconciliation bills are powerful legislative vehicles because they cannot be filibustered in the Senate (it takes 60 votes to invoke cloture and close off debate on most bills). That means, in theory at least, that the Republican majority in the Senate should be able to pass a reconciliation bill and send it to the president for signature or veto without needing any Democratic support.
Successful passage of the House reconciliation bill, or something similar to it, might not be possible in the Senate, though, because, while there are 54 Republicans in the upper chamber, three of them — Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee — already have announced that they oppose the House bill. The three dissenters argue that it does not go far enough toward repealing all of Obamacare’s provisions. Their position matches that of Heritage Action, which opposed passage of the bill in the House.
Other Republican senators might also oppose the House bill because, in addition to repealing some Obamacare provisions, it eliminates federal funding of Planned Parenthood for one year (Senators Susan Collins and Mark Kirk voted against defunding Planned Parenthood in September). If Cruz, Rubio, and Lee all vote no on reconciliation, the remaining 51 Republicans will have to vote yes to get the bill passed (unless there is a defection from the Democrats, which is unlikely).
Read the full article at National Review Online: Rubio, Cruz, and Lee Are Wrong to Oppose the House Reconciliation Bill