McConnell’s health care repeal fails on party-line vote

The Senate voted along strictly partisan lines tonight not to repeal the health-care reform law of 2010, but Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky vowed to keep trying.

All 50 Democrats present and one independent voted “no” on the repeal amendment McConnell filed Tuesday. All 47 Republicans voted in favor of repeal, The Washington Post‘s Felicia Sonmez reports. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) were not present.
For repeal to pass, Republicans would need 13 Democrats to cross party lines. Despite the fact that four Democratic Senators — Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Ben Nelson (Neb.) — are already facing tough re-election bids, none of them did.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who recently announced that he would not seek re-election, said repealing the law would “significantly worsen the deficit, a fact confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office.” Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said that debt would increase by more than $1.4 trillion if repeal passed.
McConnell retorted with a line he has used before: “Only in Washington would somebody claim that spending trillions of dollars on a brand new government entitlement and a massive bureaucracy to go along with it will save money.”

McConnell’s measure, which matched the House’s version of repeal, was one of three amendments proposed to an unrelated bill dealing with funds for the Federal Aviation Administration. Easily passed 81-17 was an amendment to repeal a tax-reporting provision of the health law that many said was too much to ask of small businesses. A similar amendment, which would have paid for itself by repealing oil companies’ tax breaks, fell short 44-54. (Read more)

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