WASHINGTON (CN) — Nine Republican senators joined all 48 Democrats Tuesday night in rejecting an amendment that was in fact a Republican replacement of the Affordable Care Act, dealing a blow to the party’s hopes just hours after it took up legislation to repeal the health care law.
The Senate amendment was the text of a revised version of the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
This Republican version of the law, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, included one change from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would have allowed insurers to sell policies that do not comply with Obamacare regulations so long as they offer one that does; and one from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that would have given an extra $100 billion to states for health care.
This version of the bill has not been evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office and Senate Democrats objected to its consideration, citing budgetary rules specific to the reconciliation process Republicans are using to pass the bill.
“Let’s get a CBO score on this then let’s have it and debate it,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said on the Senate floor Tuesday night. “You had plenty of time to get it and didn’t get it. This is a terrible amendment. We must defeat it.”
A vote to waive the objection failed by 43-57 vote, with 60 votes needed to allow the amendment itself to go to a vote.
Though the motion to waive the point of order was expected to fail because of the 60-vote threshold, the nine Republicans who joined with all Democrats in voting No was a surprise.
In addition to Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted against bringing the bill to the floor at all, Republican senators who have had little objection to the health care bills, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voted against allowing the amendment to go forward.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who had been a holdout on an earlier version of the Senate’s repeal-and-replace package, voted to move past the Democrats’ objections, as did Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., despite saying earlier Tuesday that he would not support the law as written.
The Senate is scheduled to have another series of votes on the bill Wednesday afternoon.