(Bloomberg Politics) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell championed a renewed push to bypass a filibuster and repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) with 51 votes on Tuesday, he announced in a joint statement with Utah Sen. Mike Lee, one of the most conservative Republicans in the chamber.
“Republicans are united in working to repeal the broken promises of Obamacare,” McConnell said in the statement, adding that the Senate will “continue our effort to use reconciliation … to fulfill the promise we made to our constituents.”
Lee, who has often been at odds with McConnell, has long advocated using Senate procedures to try and kill the health care law. “A Senate vote to repeal Obamacare on a simple majority basis through reconciliation is the best way to pursue that goal,” Lee said in the statement. “The Majority Leader and I are committed to using reconciliation to repeal Obamacare in the 114th Congress.”
The gambit is unlikely to succeed due to procedural roadblocks in the Senate, and even if Congress were to pass a full repeal bill President Barack Obama is guaranteed to veto it. But the issue is a flashpoint in the Republican presidential race, where candidates are facing questions about how far they’d go to repeal the health care law.
Heritage Action, a conservative activist group, contends that PPACA can be eliminated through reconciliation. A memo by the group released Tuesday said the process would serve as a “trial run” for a potential Republican presidency. “More importantly,” the memo said, “it will reaffirm the Republican-controlled Congress’s commitment to sending a bill repealing Obamacare to the president’s desk in 2017—when it will hopefully be signed into law.”