Years Later, Senate Republicans Will Stop Trying to Defund Obamacare

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Six years and over 60 attempts later, Senate Republicans have reportedly decided it's time to stop trying to defund Obamacare.

For some reason, it took them over half a decade of failed attempts to realize that President Obama is never going to sign a bill that defunds his signature policy achievement.

The more pragmatic approach came Tuesday on a huge $164 billion spending measure and reflects a hope by top Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to remove veto bait from must-pass spending bills in hopes of advancing them more easily with Democratic support.

There is, of course, an obvious problem with this new strategy.

Top Senate leader McConnell has been trying, with some success so far, to revive the moribund appropriations process in which both House and Senate are supposed to separately debate and amendment 12 annual spending bills funding the operating budgets of every federal agency. The Senate has passed three of the 12 bills, but the House has passed only a single measure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may decide it's time to cooperate now that the GOP's Senate majority is threatened, but that doesn't mean House Republicans are willing to go along. The Senate cannot advance spending bills to the president's desk alone.

  • muselet

    I wonder if this is what Mitch McConnell meant when he said there was no more dysfunction in the Senate, that he’d let bills move if doing so might help maintain Republican control. If so, color me unimpressed, even if the doomed effort to defund the ACA was stripped out of this bill.

    Also, I’m not sure passing three out of twelve appropriations bills qualifies as “some success” except in the sense that the Senate has done some of its job.


    • JMAshby

      As far as the election goes, I don’t think it matters what the Senate does because I don’t think the average voter can or does distinguish between the House and the Senate. General sentiment toward “Congress” as a whole (and Trump’s awfulness) may deliver the Senate to Democrats.

      In other words, bad things the House is primarily responsible for drag down the Senate too.