There is no pressing reason, this year anyway, to employ the fast-track budget procedure known as reconciliation to repeal Obamacare, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told Roll Call.
"I think if we use reconciliation for Obamacare, I don't know if there's any particular rush to doing it," said Thune.
"You know that's an issue that's going to be around for a while. It's not going away. And reconciliation has been used in the past, not only in the year in which the budget passed, but in the subsequent year. I mean, that's actually how the Democrats did Obamacare in 2010, because the budget was '09 and then they used the vehicle whenever that was, late spring of '10."
In 2010, NPR
wrote that "resorting to budget reconciliation is the legislative equivalent of breaking out the heavy artillery in a pitched battle."
It's a provision of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, "designed to force committees to make changes in mandatory — or entitlement — spending and revenues, such as Medicare" and was 'conceived by lawmakers as a way to bring down the deficit by easing the path for budget and tax deals.'"
Per reconciliation bill procedures, debate in both houses is limited to 20 hours, and no Senate filibusters are permitted.
In order to use reconciliation as a tack to repeal Obamacare, there would need to be a reduction in the federal deficit as a result (it's a requirement for lawmakers to avoid the 60-vote filibuster in reconciliation
But since some of the law's provisions don't impact the federal budget, the GOP would have to decide which parts of the law to undo, Politico reported in June.
Since many in the crowded GOP presidential field are dangling Obamacare repeal as part of their campaign stump speeches, "delaying the effort into next year has a certain logic too, putting it before voters closer to election day," according to Roll Call.
While there's been no final decision, particularly on timing, Thune acknowledged "there was a good case for using the reconciliation bill for the Obamacare repeal measure, to the extent allowable under the arcane budget rules, since bills that Obama might sign would likely need an abundance of Democrats anyway."
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