Mitch McConnell To Force Health Care Repeal Vote In Senate : It's All Politics The Republican minority leader offered a repeal amendment Tuesday, moving his push for an up-or-down Senate vote to repeal the 2010 health care law a step closer to fruition.
NPR logo Mitch McConnell To Force Health Care Repeal Vote In Senate

Mitch McConnell To Force Health Care Repeal Vote In Senate

Updated at 3:52 pm — Moments after McConnell proposed his repeal amendment, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat proposed her own health care repeal amendment - but hers would simply roll back just one of the new law's provisions, and one that members of both parties say should go: a provision that would require businesses to prepare 1099 income tax forms for every vendor that provides them $600 or more in goods or services.

The "burdensome" requirement, she said, "would overwhelm small businesses…and does not make any sense."

She used her time on the Senate floor to take a shot at McConnell's amendment as a back-to-the-future effort.

"Let's fix the things that need to be fixed," Stabenow said, "but lets not roll back the clock and put the insurance companies in charge of everything."

Updated at 3:26 p.m. — Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) just offered his amendment to repeal the health care law, characterizing the move as "an opportunity for all those who supported the health care law … to re-evaluate your vote."

In brief comments from the Senate floor, McConnell said, "Today we reaffirm our commitment to work a little harder to get it right. We can't afford to get it wrong."

In a statement released immediately after McConnell offered the amendment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asserted that "Republicans are obsessed with fighting past battles when Americans say they want Congress focused on creating jobs."

"We need to get down to business and focus on keeping the economy moving in the right direction. The FAA bill does just that by creating and protecting 280,000 jobs," Reid said in a prepared statement. "It's time Republicans started working with us instead of standing in the way of efforts to keep our economy on track."

Original post: Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's push for an up-or-down Senate vote to repeal the 2010 health care law appears to be close to fruition: The Kentucky senator is expected to tack a repeal amendment onto a massive Federal Aviation Administration budget reauthorization bill that the Senate began debating Tuesday afternoon.

"We don't have an agreement on the manner in which we have a vote, but everyone will have the opportunity to be on the record," McConnell said Tuesday, when asked by reporters if he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had formally come to terms on raising the repeal amendment. "It will be clear who is for repeal and who isn't."

And that's exactly the purpose of the exercise: to get all senators on the record about the controversial health care law. All 47 Republican senators are expected to vote for repeal, McConnell said.

Repeal is not expected to survive a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate; if it does, President Obama has promised to wield his veto pen. The Republican-controlled House voted last month to repeal the law.

A federal judge in Florida yesterday declared the law unconstitutional, finding that its requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance exceeds Congress's power. The law's constitutionality is expected to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

McConnell called the Florida decision "significant," but said he would have moved ahead with a repeal vote effort "in any event."

Democrats have been pushing for passage of the FAA bill, claiming that it will "create and protect 280,000 jobs" through airport investment and infrastructure improvements. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate's Science and Transportation Committee, took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to push for the passage of the FAA bill, noting that it's been postponed 15 times over the past several years.