President Barack Obama will meet with Democratic members of Congress on January 4 to strategize on how to preserve the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) from efforts by Republicans to terminate it. Republicans are already on the move to repeal Obama’s signature health reform initiative.
Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced a resolution today that would repeal Obamacare. In a statement released by his office, Renzi declared, “Americans face skyrocketing premiums and soaring deductibles.” Enzi, who chairs the Senate committee on the Budget, added, “Insurers are withdrawing from markets across the country, leaving many families with fewer choices and less access to care than they had before – the opposite of what the law promised.”
Among the features of the resolution are instructions for committees to use a fast-track process so that repealing Obamacare will only require a simple majority in the Senate, as in the House. These instructions would facilitate immediate action on repeal, “with the intent of sending legislation to the new President’s desk as soon as possible,” according to the statement. The statement anticipates at least $1 billion in each year in deficit reduction over 10 years (fiscal years 2017 through 2026).
The Republicans are thus utilizing a budget resolution to repeal Obamacare and act without any votes by Democrats. Budget resolutions require a simple majority to pass in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes usually required. There are 52 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber. Enzi’s move puts into action, on the first day of the new Congress, Republicans’ promise to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. This could mean that Republicans may repeal Obamacare even before its namesake leaves office.
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