After the House failed to pass a clean repeal of Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are leading the charge for the GOP-dominated Senate to use all of the tools at their disposal to actually end Obamacare rather than replace it with new taxes, regulations and mandates.
Politco has reported that Paul and Cruz are ready to throw decorum and long-standing established Senate rules out the window in order to fully repeal Obamacare.
“The firebrands want to overturn long-standing precedent for what can be done under reconciliation, the fast-track budget process the GOP is using to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. They argue Republicans are allowing stale Senate norms to tie their hands and are forfeiting a chance to completely abolish the law,” the Politico article stated.
A potential problem with Cruz and Paul’s plan are the rules regarding reconciliation. Some argue that Elizabeth MacDonough, who serves as the Senate parliamentarian, ultimately decides whether a bill’s provisions make it eligible for reconciliation by directly affecting the budget. Paul and Cruz contend that the ultimate authority is in the hands of Vice President Mike Pence, who also presides over the Senate.
“The original law says the [person in the] chair decides — it doesn’t say anything about the parliamentarian,” Paul said.
However, Paul and Cruz have quite a bit of work to do in order to convince their colleagues to proceed with their plan. Most of whom are expressing apprehension toward plans to actually repeal Obamacare, opting instead to keep the health care law in place while hiding behind excuses for their inaction.
“There’s always loose talk about overruling the parliamentarian,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said. “I can’t see supporting that. I’d be hard-pressed to do that. I like precedent, custom, tradition.”
It will be a long road ahead for Cruz and Paul, as they will need to whip support behind their plan to fully repeal Obamacare. If the House Freedom Caucus caving on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was any indicator, the two conservative lawmakers will likely fall short in their efforts to achieve substantial free market reforms.