Only a few days after repeatedly being called an untrustworthy liar during a floor speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done something that Cruz and other conservatives will likely consider a positive move. The Kentucky Republican has pledged to hold a vote to repeal Obamacare and to do it in such a way that only a simple majority of 51 senators would be needed to turn thumbs down on the unpopular law.
CNS News reports that Sens. McConnell and Mike Lee of Utah, a Cruz ally, have issued a joint statement in which the majority leader promises to use the budget reconciliation process to cut funding to President Obama’s health care takeover law. Sen. Lee apparently came to the agreement with McConnell and other GOP lawmakers in the upper chamber after the Utah Republican dropped his effort to repeal Obamacare by attaching an amendment to the highway funding bill, considered a must-pass piece of legislation.
The article on CNS News quotes Mitch McConnell from the joint statement:
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“Earlier this year, Senate Republicans passed a balanced budget, and with it the necessary procedural tools – via the budget reconciliation process – to bring an end to the nightmare of Obamacare,” McConnell said in the joint statement with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
“Americans have faced skyrocketing health care costs, rampant fraud and more government between them and their doctors. And Republicans are united in working to repeal the broken promises of Obamacare and allow our country to start over fresh with real health reform that Americans deserve,” he added.
While CNS News characterizes the McConnell pledge to conduct a simple-majority vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act as a win for Sen. Lee and his conservative colleagues, curiously The Hill takes a different view of this development in the Senate. The opening paragraph of The Hill’s coverage casts Lee’s maneuver in a negative light.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has officially conceded defeat in his effort to force a Senate vote on repealing ObamaCare, which ended Monday night after a tense face-off with leadership.
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Of course, there’s no guarantee that Senate Republicans will stand firm and united behind the latest attempt to kill the president’s signature legislative achievement — there’s no certainty that they’ll tally the 51 votes necessary to defund under the reconciliation procedure — but it would seem that the 114th Congress could be closer than ever to sending a kill-the-law bill to President Obama, who is certain to veto it.
With Congress members only days from leaving Washington for their extended summer break, there’s no timetable set for a vote on the budget reconciliation bill that McConnell has vowed to present. There’s also no indication that what Mitch McConnell just pledged to do as an attempt to repeal Obamacare and satisfy frustrated GOP voters was in response to the very public and very passionate assault on his integrity by presidential contender Ted Cruz.
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