Another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act was defeated in a rare Sunday session in the U.S. Senate. It was the first attempt from the new Republican majority to remove President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
The effort to repeal failed along party lines in a 49 to 43 vote, with eight Senators not in attendance due to the weekend session, Politico reported. In order to repeal any law signed by the President, a two-thirds vote, or 67 votes, is required.
However, one Senator is expected to propose a new procedural rule that would make it so only 51 votes are needed to repeal ObamaCare. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is expected to announce his proposal during Monday’s session.
While Lee’s proposal is expected to fail, many members of Congress see it as a way for freshman GOP lawmakers to uphold a promise they made to their constituents during the campaign and election seasons. Knowing the repeal will likely fail, GOP members can still cast a vote in favor to repeal the health care law and keep their promise to vote in favor of any attempt to remove the law.
However, not all members of the GOP felt this way. 2016 presidential candidate and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas knew how the final vote would turn out.
“The Republicans will all vote yes, the Democrats will all vote no. It will be at a 60-vote threshold, it will fail. It will be an exercise in meaningless political theater,” Cruz said.
Cruz has been an ardent advocate of repealing the ACA in the past. During one previous repeal attempt, Cruz filibustered a budget agreement for hours in hopes of securing the votes needed to scrap the law.
More Republicans acknowledge that repealing the law is unlikely, but making changes to the law could be successful. Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska has supported the repeal of the law’s medical device tax and to change the definition of “full time” employees from 30 hours, as the ACA currently states, to 40 hours, which is what many employers consider full time in the U.S.
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