The Senate on Thursday fast-tracked a House-passed effort to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used a procedural move to let the House bill skip over the Senate’s committee process and be placed directly on the Senate calendar, where it could be teed up for action on the floor.
While the legislation hasn’t been scheduled yet to be brought up on the Senate floor, the Republican leader told reporters that the chamber will take up the reconciliation package after Thanksgiving. Lawmakers are heading out of town for a week-long recess, and they’ll return to Washington on Nov. 30.
The procedural move comes after McConnell squelched speculation that Republican leadership might drop a repeal of Planned Parenthood from the repeal package.
He told reporters he was “confident” that the legislation would include defunding the organization, despite pushback from moderate Republicans.
Separately, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), who are both running for the Republican presidential nomination, have all suggested they will oppose legislation that stops short of a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
To get the package through the Senate, McConnell will need the support of 51 senators.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) suggested that leadership will push forward on the ObamaCare repeal bill despite concerns over the legislation.
“We’re feeling hopefully optimistic that our members are going to be there to give us the 51 votes necessary to get ObamaCare repeal and Planned Parenthood on the president’s desk,” he told reporters.