Senate Republicans eye health care repeal
January 23rd, 2011
02:14 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate Republicans eye health care repeal

Washington (CNN) - Democratic and Republican senators agreed Sunday that the Senate will vote to change elements of the health care legislation passed in the last Congress, most likely through amendments to other bills.

With Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, saying he will not allow a full repeal bill on the Senate floor, Republicans said they will offer provisions that could include repealing the entire law or, if that fails, addressing concerns one by one.

"If they don't want to have the vote, we'll have the vote," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on "Fox News Sunday." "I can assure you we'll have a vote on repeal."

Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said a vote is needed in the Senate because "we promised the people we would."

"We have to have a vote on repeal so that everybody is on record whether they want to repeal. And then I think piece by piece we go through, 'replacing,'" McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Now I'm told already that the Democrats may agree with us on some changes. But there needs to be a lot more changes than what they're willing to agree to, and it has to be the subject of a national debate."

Republicans, McCain said, will force a vote on a full repeal, while Democrats, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said, will force a vote on each specific benefit outlined in the original legislation. Both parties are jockeying for use of the issue in the 2012 campaign.

"Are Republicans going to vote no on a provision to maintain the doughnut hole benefits so that seniors pay less for prescription drugs? Are they going to vote against the ability of 21- to 26-year-olds to stay on their parents' health care?," Schumer said on "Face the Nation," using the rhetorical questions to emphasize elements of the legislation Democrats deem positive.

"At the end of the day, their effort to repeal is not going to work at all," Schumer said, adding that a Republican-sponsored repeal amendment would be "so full of holes it looks like Swiss cheese."

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois was skeptical that McConnell would be able to find enough votes to support a full repeal, but opened the door to revising the law.

He said he will back changing the 1099 requirement, which requires small businesses to report vendor purchases over $600.

"It's unreasonable, it goes too far," Durbin said.

Other Democrats, including Schumer, have also expressed reservations about the requirement.

A full repeal of the law passed through the Republican-controlled House in January, but a Democratic majority in the Senate makes that course improbable in the upper chamber. However, Republicans in the Senate argue their mandate from the 2010 election is the same, regardless of which party is in control.

When asked why the Senate would waste time on a repeal vote, McCain said, "One thing about the Senate, it is not the most efficient organization."

Filed under: Congress • Health care • Senate
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Repeal republican congressmen and senators government health care first. Then we will listen to the job killing republicans.

    January 23, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Do the right wingnuts and bagger know that the 18% who want to repeal health reform does not make a mandate?

    January 23, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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