Republicans in both chambers had hoped to use the budget reconciliation process as a way to chip away at the Affordable Care Act without having to clear the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. The effort, however, has hit a procedural road bump in the Senate.
This week, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that some of the provisions dealing with the Affordable Care Act could proceed under the reconciliation rules, but that others could not. It is believed that the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the provisions repealing the individual mandate and the employer mandate could not survive the so-called Byrd rule challenge. The Byrd rule prohibits the Senate from considering “extraneous matters” during the budget reconciliation process.
Another provision opposed by Democrats that defunds Planned Parenthood is also included in the reconciliation language and the parliamentarian ruled that provision would survive a Byrd rule challenge.
Aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) say that a substitute amendment will be brought that will include all of the Affordable Care Act provisions - as well as the Planned Parenthood provisions - and that the substitute amendment would comply with Senate rules and survive a Byrd rule challenge.