Obamacare Games Come to Senate This Week

dome of the US Capitol is seen in Washington on January 4, 2011, one day before before the Republican-led 112th Congress covenes for the first time. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read
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Senate Republicans are planning a strategy this week aimed at making it seem they will repeal Obamacare.

According too The Hill, Senate Republicans feel confident that they have the 51 votes needed to repeal Obamacare, after attending a special meeting Monday night to discuss their strategy for passing it.

Breitbart reported Monday that there was concern that there wouldn’t be enough votes to pass it because of opposition from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee, and Sen. Marco Rubio who say the House bill didn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare. They are concerned that the bill leaves many subsidies, taxes, and the expansion of Medicaid in place.

However, Senate GOP leaders have agreed  o phase out Medicaid in a separate amendment.  Sen. Mike Lee told the Hill Tuesday that he was “very encouraged.”

From The Hill:

McConnell will bring the House package straight to the floor and offer a substitute amendment to address procedural problems created by the so-called Byrd Rule. The rule is a litmus test for what can pass the Senate under reconciliation with simple majorities instead of 60 votes, as is usually required of controversial legislation.

The House bill would repeal the individual and employer mandates, medical device tax, and “Cadillac Tax.” There would also be separate amendment to repeal the Medicaid expansion, tax increases, and subsidies.

The concern for Senate GOP leaders is whether the amendments pass. If the amendments don’t pass, it’s unlikely that Cruz, Rubio and Lee will end up voting for the final passage of the legislation.

There can only be three defections and GOP leadership is already worried about another three Republicans: Sen. Mark Kirk, Sen. Susan Collins, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski. All three are moderate Republicans and are opposed to defunding Planned Parenthood. The House legislation has a provision to defund Planned Parenthood, making it unlikely that they would vote for it.

The vote is expected to take place Wednesday. If so, this will open debate for 20 hours and then the actual vote will take place Thursday.