A funny thing happened yesterday on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell woke up with some newfound intestinal fortitude, and the Senate Republicans fulfilled a major campaign promise to their base by powering through a nearly full repeal of Obamacare. The bill still has to be go back to the House for approval because the Senate bill is actually a lot stronger than the version passed in the House.
The bill also defunds Planned Parenthood for 1 year.
Senator McConnell used the reconciliation process to force the bill through without the possibility of a veto. Reconciliation is a legislative process intended to allow consideration of a budget bill with debate limited to twenty hours under Senate rules. Ironically, this is also the way Obamacare was originally passed.
The bill passed 52-47 with Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voting against it. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, but ultimately voted for the entire bill.
While the bill is certainly to be vetoed when it reaches the President’s desk, it sends a signal to the American people that Republicans are actually trying to do something about Obamacare, and it forces Democrats to go on record supporting this wretched health care legislation. There are times when you have to fight the battles you can’t win in order to ultimately win the war, and this was one of those times.
One other thing this bill does, in my opinion, is put the lie to statements previously made by Sen. McConnell and other moderate Republicans that it is no use trying to pass bills like this because the Senate Democrats will just veto them. When push came to shove, and Mitch McConnell wanted to get some Conservative street cred, he was able to find a way to get the bill passed.
So thank your Senators today for (finally) doing something they promised us they would do, and keep this in mind the next time they tell you they just can’t do something.