Legislative Alerts


Senate to Begin Debate on Affordable Care Act Repeal Resolution

Jan. 5, 2017

This week, the U.S. Senate Budget Committee introduced a budget resolution intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The legislation will originate in the Senate and then be considered by the House.

Budget Committee Chairman Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) intended for floor consideration of the resolution to begin Wednesday afternoon and a "vote-a-rama" to continue through Jan. 11.

Vote-a-ramas are intended to slow down consideration of a budget resolution, and amendments are not limited in number. The budget resolution is not subject to filibuster, but all amendments must be germane and are voted on consecutively without real debate. During a vote-a-rama, each amendment is considered and voted on for about 10 minutes until they are finished with all amendments.

Jan. 27 is the deadline for the committees to turn in their portions of the ACA repeal to their respective budget committees, which would then compile the language into a bill.

The resolution includes:

  • Reconciliation instructions to authorizing committees so that repeal legislation can move through a fast-track process and can pass with only a simple majority in the Senate, as in the House. These instructions to committees are provided to facilitate immediate action on repeal, with the intent of sending legislation to the new President's desk as soon as possible.
  • The resolution provides reconciliation instructions to four authorizing committees - Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce in the House, Finance and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions in the Senate - to achieve at least $1 billion each in deficit reduction over 10 years (fiscal years 2017 through 2026).
  • The resolution calls for the authorizing committees to report legislation to their Budget Committee by Jan. 27, 2017. The legislation will be combined for consideration on the floors of the respective chambers. 
  • Reserve funds necessary to accommodate legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. These authorities permit the budget committee chairs to adjust resolution figures as needed to accommodate patient-centered healthcare reform legislation in the future.