This afternoon, building off of the momentum of Judge Roger Vinson’s ruling against the health care law, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would file an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that would force the body to vote to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. The House of Representatives successfully passed a similar measure after just seven hours of debate and now McConnell is also hoping to undo the entire health law without holding hearings or discussing the consequences of the measure.
In fact, the strategy directly undermines the GOP’s criticism of the process Democrats took to pass the law in the first place. Recall that Republicans accused Harry Reid of ramming through the bill, despite numerous hours of committee mark-up and debate, and now they’re clamoring to do that which they so vociferously condemned:
– “Senate Republicans are going to insist that there be an actual bill, that there be a CBO score so we know what it costs, that it be available on the Internet for a minimum of 72 hours so the American people can react to it…Senate Republicans are going to insist that this be a real Senate debate, a multi-week debate that gives everyone on both sides an opportunity to freely amend this measure and the American people an opportunity to fully understand what’s in it.” [McConnell, 10/14/2009]
– “There is no justification for this blind rush — except a political one, and that’s not good enough for the American people. And there’s no justification for forcing the Senate to vote on a bill none of us has seen. ” [McConnell, 12/17/2009]
– “I think we ought to at least have as much time for the other 99 senators and all of the American people to take a look at this bill as Majority Leader Reid has had.” [ McConnell, 11/15/2009]
While all 47 Republicans support repeal, McConnell’s bill is expected to fail without attracting Democratic support. Some moderate Democrats who voted for the law in 2010 have expressed reservations about certain provisions (including the individual mandate and the 1099 requirement) but have not come out against reform as a whole. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also told reporters that “a budget point of order lies against” the measure, since it “breaks the budget by a trillion dollars” without making up for the loss in revenue. Republicans will need 60 votes to overcome the point of order.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who will likely face a tough re-election battle, will also offer an amendment to eliminate a provision that requires businesses to report purchases over $600 on a 1099 tax form.
Reid has previously pledged not to bring repeal for a vote, but allowed the GOP to vote on the measure “because they did not filibuster the motion to proceed for the FAA bill,” The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports.