The problem is getting a bill vote….
And getting past Conservatives in the House?
On Thursday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that every single Senate Democrat would back a bipartisan bill to restore the subsidy payments to health insurance companies defunded by President Trump. Combined with the 12 GOP senators who officially co-sponsored the bill, that gives the measure a filibuster-proof supermajority if and when it comes to the floor for a vote.
But with a powerful committee chairman and several other lawmakers in staunch opposition, hostility to the bill radiating from the House of Representatives, right-wing advocacy groups mobilizing against it, and a President who appears to hourly change his mind on the policy, there is no guarantee the bill will pass.
The list of Republican co-sponsors of the bill unveiled on Thursday includes half a dozen committee chairs, making it more difficult for Senate leaders to refuse to hold a vote. But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who chairs the Finance Committee that would take up the bill if it goes through the committee process, is not one of them.
“I’m concerned we’re just perpetuating a bad process,” Hatch told TPM. “They want to do it for another two years. I’d rather face the problem now.”
Hatch is referring to the heart of the bill, which provides two years of funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies to health insurance companies that go towards lowering the cost of care for low-income patients.
Bill co-author Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) told TPM Thursday that if the bill does go through a regular committee markup, an open question at this point, it would go through Hatch’s Finance Committee. Asked if Hatch would commit to holding a hearing and markup on the bill, a GOP aide called the question “premature.”
“He would have to talk to committee members about it to see how they want to move forward,” the aide said…..