Republicans are using special process, known as "budget reconciliation", to bypass a filibuster of its health plans, since the Republican majority consists of 52 seats and can not overcome the 60-vote threshold to proceed over Democratic opposition. Or, they must remove the provisions, forcing Republicans to vote for a bill that would fund abortion procedures and incense their conservative base.
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The findings of the Senate parliamentarian, who evaluates whether policies included in bills meant to pass through reconciliation comply with the Senate rules, were posted online late Friday afternoon and sent out by Democratic ranking member Sen. That means anything that isn't strictly budget-related can not be included. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. has struggled to convince his badly-divided party to coalesce around a single option for repealing the ACA.
Other provisions that would be stricken without Democratic support include a New York-specific clause that was key to passing an Obamacare replacement in the House in May, and a provision to end the requirement that state Medicaid alternative-benefit plans cover certain health benefits deemed essential.
Some conservatives say leaders should allow Mr. Pence, as president of the Senate, to override the parliamentarian while presiding over the chamber, though many Republicans are skeptical of taking such a bold move.
That means Republicans would either have to do the impossible and get 60 votes to keep the provisions in the bill.More news: No end in sight in British Columbia wildfire crisis
The parliamentarian has advised senators that several parts of the bill could be stripped out, according to a document released Friday by Sen. "It is time for the Republican leadership to junk this bill and work with the American people on legislation which improves the Affordable Care Act, not destroys it".
"The elimination of the Planned Parenthood [funding prohibition] is very puzzling since it passed the parliamentarian's scrutiny in the past", Meadows told HuffPost Friday afternoon, "but today's ruling as it relates to the life issue will make passage nearly impossible".
It is unclear if conservatives would continue supporting the bill without the abortion restrictions. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), that would allow insurers to offer some plans not subject to rules guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The provisions deemed impermissible under that process can be stripped if a senator on the floor raises an objection.
We thought they didn't have the votes, but it turns out they really don't have the votes. The proposal had not yet been added to the draft bill that the parliamentarian reviewed.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that decision could have the greatest effect on Republicans ability to pass this bill. He predicted it would tie the majority leaders hands as he tries to win over reluctant Republicans..