Senate Rejects Highway Funding Bill Amendment To Repeal ACA
On Sunday, the Senate voted 49-43 to reject an amendment that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act, Politico reports (Haberkorn, Politico, 7/26).
According to The Hill, the vote marked the first time the Senate has voted on an ACA repeal since Republicans took control of the chamber in January (Ferris, The Hill, 7/26).
The vote fell along party lines, with eight senators not voting. The amendment needed 60 votes to be added to a highway funding bill considered during the special weekend session.
However, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) could ask the Senate to reconsider the amendment on Monday using a procedural motion that would allow the amendment to be added if it receives 51 votes. According to Politico, it is unlikely the Lee's motion would be successful.
Conservatives Applaud, Criticize Vote
According to Politico, conservative lawmakers both applauded and criticized the vote. For example, some said the vote allowed senators to get on the record as voting to repeal the ACA. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said, "What I'm trying to do in my short time [in the Senate] is look at the commitments I made to the constituents and voters of Alaska and follow through on those commitments. And [voting to repeal the ACA] was a commitment."
However, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called the vote "an exercise in meaningless political theater."
Meanwhile, Democrats criticized Republicans for their repeated attacks on the law. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said, "The House has voted 55 times" to repeal the law, which the Supreme Court has upheld. She noted, "We're reaching 20 million Americans who now have health care," so repealing the ACA "would hurt too many people, it would create chaos" (Politico, 7/26).
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) added, "Repealing the [ACA] has no place in a discussion about the highway bill. It's time for Republicans to move on" (The Hill, 7/26).
Senate Rejects Amendment To Defund Planned Parenthood
In related news, the Senate on Sunday also voted to reject an amendment from Lee that would have defunded Planned Parenthood, Roll Call's "#WGDB" reports (Lesniewski, #WGDB," Roll Call, 7/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.