WASHINGTON – The Senate parliamentarian issued a preliminary finding that key parts of the GOP health care proposal don’t qualify for a fast-track procedure being used, dramatically complicating Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s already slim prospects of passing a bill next week.
Democrats on the Budget Committee on Friday released a summary of the parliamentarian’s findings on a June 26 draft of McConnell’s proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. The majority leader plans a test vote early next week on the repeal effort.
Two provisions related to abortion are among the dozen the parliamentarian concluded would require 60 votes rather than the simple majority the GOP seeks to use under the fast-track procedure. One portion prohibits Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid funds for one year, and the other would prevent tax credits for insurance premiums from being used to buy policies that cover abortion.
“The parliamentarian’s decision today proves once again that the process Republicans have undertaken to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw 22 million Americans off of health insurance is a disaster,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the top Democratic caucus member on the Budget Committee.
A Republican aide cautioned that the parliamentarian’s findings were guidance and not formal rulings. The aide said that party leaders would take them into account.
Republicans control the Senate 52-48, and all Democrats in the chamber oppose the Republican drive to replace the ACA, former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement.