Republican Senators have taken the first steps toward achieving a long-held GOP goal: repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Working into the early morning hours of Jan. 12, the Senate voted to approve a budget resolution that sets into motion the first stages toward repealing President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare legislation, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
The budget, which was passed almost completely along party lines, now goes to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where GOP leaders are hoping to get it passed within days, reported NPR.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the sole Republican to vote against the bill, and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California were absent.
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"This resolution will set the stage for true legislative relief from Obamacare that Americans have long demanded while ensuring a stable transition," said Republican Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi of Wyoming, according to CNN. "The Obamacare bridge is collapsing and we're sending in a rescue team."
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said the repeal will pose a risk to millions of people who could potentially lose healthcare coverage obtained under Obamacare.
"I think it's important for this country to know this was not a usual thing, this is a day which lays the groundwork for 30 million people to be thrown off their health insurance," Sanders said. "And if that happens, many of these people will die."
Paul, however, had a different reason for his vote.
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“As a physician, I cannot wait to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that relies on freedom to provide quality, comprehensive, and affordable care," Paul said, according to WKYT. “But putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’s backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there. It is the exact opposite of the change Republicans promised, and I cannot support it, even as a placeholder."