Senate votes against ACA repeal and replace amendment

After voting to move forward with debate on Republican healthcare legislation, the Senate rejected amendments Tuesday night that would have repealed and replaced the ACA, according to The Washington Post.

The bill was defeated 43 to 57, with nine Republicans opposing the plan. The proposal combined the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has spent weeks crafting, along with two amendments: one for additional funding for opioid programs, proposed by moderate Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and one from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would have allowed insurers to sell coverage on state exchanges that does not comply with ACA regulations as long as they also sell plans that do comply.

Because neither of these amendments was scored by the Congressional Budget Office, Senate rules require that they receive 60 votes to pass, as opposed to the 51 votes currently required under the budget reconciliation rules that Mr. McConnell has enacted.

The Senate will continue to consider amendments for the rest of the week, the next one most likely a proposal to repeal the ACA and give Republicans a two year window to craft a replacement bill that could be voted on as early as Wednesday. 

Earlier Tuesday the Senate voted in favor of a motion to proceed with healthcare debate. Vice President Mike Pence acted as the tiebreaking vote after 50 votes were cast both for and against the proposal, including two Republicans who broke rank and voted against the motion.

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