GOP Planning to Use Reconciliation ‘to go after ObamaCare’

A top House Republican on Friday vowed to keep fighting to repeal ObamaCare through budget reconciliation even as the tactic is losing support from some within the GOP.

“We want to use reconciliation to go after ObamaCare,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Friday.

Republicans had planned to use reconciliation — an obscure budget tool used to avoid the Senate’s 60-vote threshold — to muscle through new healthcare legislation if ObamaCare was upheld in the King v. Burwell case last month. The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the law in a 6-3 vote, creating a new headache for Republicans who now see fewer options in their battle against ObamaCare.

“We were planning for King prevailing, and we have to retool now that King didn’t prevail, and we’re working on that retooling now,” Ryan said of the court ruling.

The court decision renewed the rift in the Republican Party between those who want to pursue repeal at all costs and those who prefer a more strategic approach to the law that will not be met with a White House veto.

Reconciliation is strongly favored in the House, particularly among several conservatives who say it was an important part of why they voted for the most recent budget.

Some Republicans, who are more wary of a presidential rejection, hope to reserve the procedure for another policy area, like tax reform.

When asked if Ryan would want to repeal all of ObamaCare using the budget tactic, he said yes, but added that he is still figuring out what can be done “given the restraints of reconciliation.”

“Honestly, you have to talk to go and talk to a Senate parliamentarian to see what can go through, and that’s sort of a laborious process, and we’re beginning that,” he said.

House committees, including Ryan’s, have a July 24 deadline to write their reconciliation instructions.

– Scott Wong contributed.