Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was dealt a crushing blow in a rare Sunday session that was aimed at blocking Obamacare. The GOP-led amendment failed (49-43) to garner the 60 votes needed to advanced the measure, this according to a political news report via the Hill.
McConnell and the Republicans attached the amendment to a three-year highway funding bill, and the move was designed to appease the GOP constituency to challenge the Affordable Care Act. Of note: All Republican candidates for the 2016 Elections voted in favor of the McConnell amendment. The failed vote marked the first time Senate Republicans tried to reverse Obamacare since they took control of the former Harry Reid-led chamber in January. Their efforts failed about 60 times before.
Arguably, the measure was defeated even before the first vote was cast. Reportedly, the last results represented a stark division among lawmakers; no Democrat voted to support the Senate measure.
Allegedly, some Republican senators dismissed the effort as a “show vote,” which was designed to keep conservatives happy who were up in arms over a plan to have the Export-Import Bank (IM) reauthorized after the end of the month.
The 60-vote requirement is the Achilles heel for the GOP Senate. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is lobbying for a possible workaround by getting support for a procedure called the “nuclear option.” Should he succeed, a 51-vote majority is only needed to challenge Obamacare. Lee explained the matter in a press release issued two days before the Sunday vote.
“Thanks to the sequencing of the votes we just locked in, Republicans will have the opportunity to resurrect that Obamacare amendment later on in the process, and put it back before the Senate in a manner that only requires a simple-majority vote.”