Health care repeal measure will be offered as an amendment to first Senate bill

Chris Moody Contributor
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will force a vote in the Senate to repeal the new health care law by offering it as an amendment to the first bill the Senate takes up this year. A vote could come as early as Tuesday afternoon.

The Democrat-controlled Senate will take up a bipartisan authorization measure to fund the Federal Aviation Administration using an open process, which allows any member to offer amendments regardless of whether the proposal is related to the topic of the bill.

Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to put a health care repeal bill to a straight vote, the move is one tactic GOP members in the Senate can use to put their colleagues on the record about health care law repeal.

Emboldened by Monday’s federal court ruling that found the health care overhaul unconstitutional, Republicans are moving fast to get a vote in the Senate on repeal.

“Yesterday, a federal court in Florida found the crux of the law to be unconstitutional, so we have an opportunity today,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Democrats said Tuesday they welcomed the opportunity to defend their bill and were confident it would not reach the 60 votes needed to make it into the language of the final bill.

“We’re going to do everything we can to get rid of these amendments,” Reid said. “It’s not going to go anyplace.”

Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second highest ranking Senate Democrat, blasted the move as a mere political ploy.

“What they’re doing is bowing to the Tea Party. Bowing to the most conservative members of the Republican Party to indicate that they got the message,” he said. “Republicans want to check the box for the Tea Party and file an amendment to repeal the health care reform bill. It’s going to lose”

The Senate will vote on the amendment late Wednesday afternoon.

Anthony C. Maki contributed to this report.

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