Senate May Vote Today On Health Repeal

By Kristina

Feb 2, 2011 9:18am

ABC New's Matthew Jaffe reports:

UPDATE: Senate Majority Reid Harry Reid projected on the Senate floor this morning that Senators will vote on the repeal amendment between 5pm and 6pm Wednesday.

ORIGINAL POST: The Senate is likely to vote today – or later this week if it gets pushed back – on repealing the health care law, even though everyone knows it’s not going to pass.

 But it’s not as simple as a straight up-or-down vote on repeal.

To recap, Democrats want to pass the $35 billion FAA reauthorization bill that they are touting as “the first jobs bill” of the new Congress. They say it will save or create an estimated 280,000 jobs. Republicans want to force a vote as soon as possible on the House-passed bill to repeal the health care law. So Mitch McConnell tried to attach the repeal as an amendment to the FAA bill. Democrats then protested the GOP repeal amendment as a so-called budget point of order because it would add to the deficit, so now – in order for the repeal amendment to advance any further – Republicans need 60 votes to get past the budget point of order.

Basically, when senators vote on the budget point of order, they will essentially be voting on the health care repeal. After repeatedly voicing objections to any vote on repeal, Democrats decided that they just want to get it over and done with. Meanwhile, Republicans have acknowledged that the repeal vote will not advance in the Senate due to the Democrats’ 53 to 47 majority, but they want to go on the record nevertheless – and this vote will give them a chance to do it.

While the repeal is destined to fail, a push to change the much-maligned 1099 provision of the health care law appears likely to succeed. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-NE, has introduced an amendment to scrap the 1099 mandate from the bill and just last week he said the proposal had gained the support of 60 senators, giving it enough to make it past the Senate’s filibuster threshold.

In other health care developments today, there’s a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the constitutionality of the new law in the wake of this week’s ruling by a Florida judge that went against the Obama administration.

Elsewhere, there’s an Environment panel hearing on toxic chemicals found in drinking water – where EPA boss Lisa Jackson will announce plans to develop a new regulation setting a national standard for perchlorate in drinking water, as John Parkinson has reported – and a Budget panel hearing on tax revision. Treasury Secretary Geithner will also be on the Hill for separate closed-door meetings with Democratic Sens. Reid, Conrad, and Baucus.

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