House passes budget, reconciliation process to begin

With the approval of a budget in the House Friday, Republicans in Congress are hurtling toward an ACA repeal at a breakneck speed.

The House voted 227-198 to pass the budget, Politico reported, after similar measure passed in the Senate early Thursday morning. With a budget approved in both chambers, the budget reconciliation process can begin. During this process, filibusters are blocked and only a simple majority vote is required to pass the reconciliation bill. Republicans hope to include measures in the bill that will dismantle parts of the ACA related to taxes, entitlement programs and premium subsidies. To address any non-budget-related items, a sidecar bill is required — and because normal legislative rules apply, agreement from some Democrats will also be required.

Originally the budgets set a deadline of Jan. 27 for reconciliation legislation to be drafted, but this deadline is flexible, according to Republican leaders in the Senate.

The House vote Friday indicates a more aligned front on the right, which has been divided over how and when to repeal the ACA and replace it. Both President-elect Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have repeated rhetoric this week that the healthcare law will be repealed and replaced almost simultaneously, which could have assuaged some concerns, Politico reported.

Speaking on plans to repeal and replace the ACA, Mr. Trump told The New York Times, "It will be [in] various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week — but probably the same day — could be the same hour."

 

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