- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday Republicans will blow past a deadline this week to report ways they could leverage a fast-track budget tool to send an Obamacare repeal bill to the White House.

The GOP budget resolution gave specific Senate and House committees until July 24 to report back the ways each of them could reduce the deficit by $1 billion over the next 10 years — part of a Republican push to use “budget reconciliation” to either repeal the health law or notch a separate legislative victory.

But the instructions remain in place until they’re supplanted by a new budget, so the deadline is virtually meaningless.

“We will not put anything out by July 24. It’s not a hard and fast deadline,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, said. “I don’t think there is a reason we have to hurry. So you’ll see something later.”

Reconciliation is a complex budget tool that allows Congress to forge new legislation while avoiding a filibuster in the Senate. Democrats used the tool to help pass Obamacare in 2010, although President Obama would still maintain a veto over whatever Congress passes this time around.

The GOP is unlikely to garner the votes to surmount that hurdle, so some Republicans and fiscal watchdogs wonder if it makes sense to use reconciliation on Obamacare at all.

Yet many conservatives said they voted for the fiscal 2016 budget with the explicit understanding that reconciliation would be used to attack Obamacare, so they’ve warned leadership not to water down their plans.

Speaker John A. Boehner, Mr. McCarthy and others insist that repealing the health care law remains their focus, but they had to retool their strategy after the Supreme Court last month upheld the Affordable Care Act’s payment of subsidies to customers in all states.

Republicans had been banking on the court striking down the subsidies in most states, creating a crisis within the program that would give them leverage to attack the law.

Mr. McCarthy said people should expect a plan, although it could be months later.

“It’s something we need to do and we will,” he added, but not by July 24.”

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