By passing a budget through both the House and the Senate, Congress has moved one step closer to sending a repeal of ObamaCare to the White House. The process to get there is still marked by hurdles, but nothing that can’t be overcome. However, for Congress to take the trouble, they’re going to have to hear from you all the way through the process, lest they choose the path of least resistance – that of doing nothing.
The first hurdle – and hopefully the easiest – will now be passing a final budget that unifies the House and Senate proposals. Regardless of any other details that the two chambers work out, the final product must – as they both do now – contain “reconciliation” language that lays the groundwork for the ObamaCare repeal process moving forward.
As a review (you can read more about the process HERE), reconciliation is a legislative tool that allows a bill to be passed with a simple majority through both chambers of Congress, thus bypassing the Senate’s infamous filibuster. In other words, using reconciliation allows Republicans in Congress to pass a repeal of ObamaCare over the objections of any Democrats, in the same way that Democrats passed the final version of ObamaCare without Republican votes in 2010.
So once Congress clears that first hurdle, the next obstacle is crafting a bill that meets the demands of the Senate Parliamentarian – a (theoretically) non-partisan official who will decide whether the bill meets the complicated guidelines surrounding reconciliation bills. This step is perhaps the trickiest, but since most of the main parts of ObamaCare – the premium subsidies, mandates, taxes, and new programs – all have an immediate effect on the budget, it should be very possible to get a green light for a bill that repeals most of ObamaCare, at least.
It may take multiple attempts, and some creative bill-writing, but getting a good repeal bill past the parliamentarian can be done.
Once that’s done, sending the bill to President Obama’s desk should be no problem. A Cruz bill to fully repeal ObamaCare has over 50 co-sponsors in the Senate, and the House has passed multiple ObamaCare repeal bills over the past few years – the votes are there. This ought to be one of the easiest and least controversial bills that Congress votes on all year.