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Senate Passes FY2017 Budget Resolution that Begins Process of Repealing Affordable Care Act

Legislative Update
January 12, 2017

Early this morning, after a seven hour debate, the Senate adopted a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Resolution that is the first step in the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The resolution passed by a vote of 51-48. The vote was largely along party lines, with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) the only Republican to vote against the measure.

The budget resolution sets up the repeal of the health care law through the budget reconciliation process, which would occur through separate legislation. Unlike normal bills, the budget reconciliation process is not subject to the filibuster, meaning that the Republicans would not need 60 votes to pass the bill over Democratic opposition. The resolution includes reconciliation instructions that allow for the repeal of the ACA with just 51 votes, avoiding a filibuster from Senate Democrats.

The chamber considered 19 amendments before the final vote, and rejected each one, mostly through procedural votes. Senate Democratic opposition focused on the lack of a replacement health care insurance plan being ready to cover the estimated 30 million Americans who would lose their insurance if the ACA was to be repealed.