- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2014

Republicans say they have the will to bring down Obamacare — and many are eyeing a little-known, little-used budget too called “reconciliation” to do so.

The tool would let the newly elected majority of GOPers in the Senate pass a repeal measure with 51 votes, rather than the normal 60, The Hill reported. President Obama would then have to deal with the repeal package on his desk — and while he isn’t likely to sign it, he would have to face the public relations message the Republican Party would send.

And of benefit to Republicans: Sending the repeal to the president would strike a sharp contrast between the two political parties at a time when voters will be mulling the next White House selection.

“My guidance is that’s where members are headed,” said one senior-level Senate Republican aide who’s privy to much of the behind-the-scenes’ discussions, The Hill reported.

Already, Republicans — and some Democrats — seem by and large supportive of undoing smaller aspects of Obamacare that aren’t palatable to the American public, or aren’t translating well from paper to reality. A couple of examples: Both parties seem amenable to restoring the definition of a full-time workweek as 40 hours, as well as repealing the medical device tax, The Hill reported.

But “reconciliation” and a simple majority vote to repeal the entire law is making its way through the minds of Republicans both on and outside of Capitol Hill as a viable tool, The Hill said.

“I think the conference has to decide, and will decide, whether or not the tools ought to be used for things that we know will provide a contrast with the president, that we know the president will not support — or things that will get us to do a true change in public policy with his signature,” said Rep. Tom Price in The Hill report. He is due to take over Rep. Paul Ryan’s job as Budget Committee chairman.

Still, Republicans are strategizing and far from committing.

“2016 is around the corner, so they’re going to be careful of what they’re voting on in the Senate,” said Bill Hoagland, a former Senate Budget Committee staff director, The Hill reported. “It’s not a foregone conclusion that all Republicans will walk in lockstep together on what comes out of the budget committees.”

Budget reconciliation was last used by Democrats in 2010 to make changes to Obamacare.



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