The Senate can be a tricky place, and many people have asked about the recent Senate passage of H.R. 3762. For those of you who would like a better explanation, here’s a quick rundown of the legislation:
How does budget reconciliation work?
In order to prevent a filibuster (a filibuster occurs when Congressional opponents of the bill delay a final vote by speaking on the floor for indefinite amounts of time), Congress will use the budget reconciliation process. Budget reconciliation was created through the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to expedite budget legislation when it regards an issue not forecasted in the annual budget resolution. In the Senate, in order to reach cloture (end the debate) a bill needs a 60-vote majority; but under budget reconciliation, the debate can’t exceed 20 hours and simply needs a 51-vote majority to pass. Congress pursued this route in order to quickly move the legislation.
What is in the bill?
The House bill, H.R. 3762, is known as the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. The Senate version repeals language in the Affordable Care Act that subsidizes elective abortions through premium tax credits. It redirects federal funding from Planned Parenthood for one year and gives some of the additional funds to community health centers. It also amends the IRS code so that individuals don’t have a minimum health care coverage requirement and will no longer face penalties if they don’t meet it. It eliminates the excise tax on medical devices and removes the “Cadillac Tax.” (For those who are unfamiliar, the “Cadillac Tax,” is a 40 percent tax on health insurance companies — which translates into higher costs for taxpayer premiums.) The Cadillac Tax was a way for the government to shift the blame to insurance companies for the higher costs incurred by the American people.
The bill passed in the Senate 52-47. Since the Senate language is slightly different from the original House bill, this legislation will go back to the House before making it to the president’s desk. It is likely to pass; however, the White House put out a statement that if H.R. 3762 were presented to President Obama, he would veto the bill. In order to override a presidential veto, Congress would need a two-thirds majority.
The president has said he will veto; why is this legislation a win?
Not only is this is a major victory for the pro-life movement, it is the first time that the Senate has voted to repeal a portion of the Affordable Care Act. The great news is that a bill that has been approved in both the House and Senate will have a much easier time getting through when a pro-life, ObamaCare-repealing president is elected in 2016. (That’s right; I said when.) Even if the president vetoes the bill, which he most likely will, the American people have sent the message that the Affordable Care Act is flawed and Planned Parenthood does not care for women or the innocent unborn like they say they do. This legislation also stresses the need for a president who listens to the American people — especially regarding the use of their hard-earned tax dollars.