Republicans are giving an Obamacare repeal one last go, and the process is moving at a blinding pace.
The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill is the latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, and the GOP is wasting no time trying to pass it.
The proposal was released on Wednesday, and Republicans are moving as quickly as they can because their ability to use the process known as budget reconciliation expires at the end of the month. Reconciliation bypasses the filibuster, meaning that Republicans can pass it with a simple majority vote and no Democratic support.
Here’s a rundown of the process as it goes from here:
CBO score: The Congressional Budget Office announced on Monday that it will have some projections for the bill early next week. In order to qualify for the budget reconciliation process, the GCHJ has to save at least as much money against the deficit as the House’s American Health Care Act and save at least $US1 billion per relevant committee.
However, due to the limited timeframe, the CBO score will be missing “point estimates of the effects on the deficit, health insurance coverage, or premiums.”
- Senate parliamentarian ruling: Some time over the next two weeks, the Senate parliamentarian will rule on whether any part of the GCHJ violates the Byrd Rule. This rule stipulates that all parts of a bill being considered under budget reconciliation actually have to do with the budget. If the parliamentarian rules that parts of the bill do not qualify, the people will need a rewrite.
- Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing: While the Homeland Security Committee is not technically a committee of jurisdiction on the bill, it is lead by one of the authors: Sen. Ron Johnson. This allows Republicans to at least be able to say that the bill was brought in front of a committee. Many Republicans, particularly Sen. John McCain, complained that the previous healthcare bills were not given proper hearings.
- 90 seconds of debate: Perhaps most incredibly, the GCHJ would still be considered as a substitute amendment to the House bill passed in May. This means that the GOP would technically be restarting the process that was used when their previous Obamacare repeal effort failed. Based on where that process was, the GCHJ would get only 90 seconds of debate before it would be voted on.
- Vote: After the debate and possibly a few other parliamentary stalling tactics by Democrats, the vote would occur.
If the bill is passed, it would then need to be sent down to the House for another vote since it is different from the AHCA. The bill would likely need to be passed in the exact Senate version in order to avoid a conference committee that would be needed if the two bills are different.
A conference committee and re-vote by both the House and Senate probably aren’t possible since Republicans only have until September 30 to pass the bill using reconciliation.
If the bill is fit in under the wire, it would be at most 17 days between the release of the bill and its passage.
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