After dozens of attempts, it looks like Republican lawmakers have finally overcome the hurdles preventing them from repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Following a marathon voting session which lasted from 6:30 a.m. until 1:36 a.m. Eastern time, Wednesday into Thursday, the Senate passed the budget vehicle repealing Obamacare in a 51-48 vote largely along party lines. It’s passing marks the completion of the first step necessary to completely repeal and replace.
The Senate conducted 20 roll call votes, 19 amendments of which failed. Democrats railed against repeal of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation, arguing it is working. Majority Whip John Cornyn quickly demanded order.
With an air of accomplishment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the repeal vote, saying it puts them on the path toward providing necessary changes to bring down premiums and increase access to care.
“The Senate just took an important step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare by passing the resolution that provides the legislative tools necessary to actually repeal this failed law while we move ahead with smarter health care policies,” McConnell said in a statement.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the sole Republican to vote against the measure, citing the budget measure’s failure to meet the requirements set forth in the balanced budget amendment.
“As a physician, I cannot wait to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that relies on freedom to provide quality, comprehensive, and affordable care,” he said in a statement. “But putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’s backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there. It is the exact opposite of the change Republicans promised, and I cannot support it, even as a placeholder.”
California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein was absent for the vote following a pacemaker surgery while Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions was only present for the final vote.
The House is slated to vote on the same measure Friday.
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