Senate Democrats are threatening to vote against a procedural vote to end debate on their healthcare bill after a new proposal advanced Thursday that would block a vote on the measure until the president completes a review of the law and a vote by the Senate takes place on a replacement.
The measure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to keep the Senate in session until the government comes up with a replacement plan, also includes language to block the government from funding Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider if Congress fails to act.
The Senate will take up the proposal in the coming days, and Democrats are poised to vote on it when it comes up for a vote.
That would set up a potentially dramatic showdown in the upper chamber that could set off a second shutdown, which could result in a repeat of the first one in January.
McConnell and Democratic leaders have promised a vote this week, but have yet to say whether the legislation will pass the Senate.
McConnell has said the Senate will be in session during the month of March to allow the government to get back on track, but the legislation could be filibustered by Republicans and likely will face a difficult vote from the Senate Democratic leader.
McDonnell has threatened to block a procedural move that would allow him to take up a bill that includes Planned Parenthood funding if Republicans block it, saying the proposal could lead to a shutdown.
The proposal would allow McConnell to advance a proposal that would prevent the government shutdown, but would require the government’s agencies to report back on whether they are able to perform their mandated functions.
Democrats are trying to persuade senators to vote to keep debate on the bill while the president works to find a replacement, and they are hoping the delay in a vote could help prevent another shutdown.
“We’re hoping that the delay would allow us to take the Senate up with this bill and vote on that,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.
Va., said Thursday.
“If that’s not possible, I think we’re going to need to have a second vote.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D and Minority Leader Charles Schumer, left, and Majority Leader Chuck McConnell, right, watch Senate Democrats move to pass a healthcare bill during a meeting at the White House on May 15, 2017 in Washington.
Schumer said the Democratic leaders plan to vote Thursday on the legislation to block consideration of McConnell’s healthcare plan.
(Alex Brandon/Associated Press)Democrats are using a procedural rule known as the Byrd Rule to block McConnell from moving forward with the measure that would require them to vote.
The rule says a majority of senators must vote to advance the measure.
If McConnell is unable to secure the necessary 51 votes to advance legislation in the next few days, Senate Democrats say they plan to invoke the Byrd rule.
That will allow the minority leader to move ahead without a procedural requirement that senators vote to pass the measure, which would allow them to move to a vote that will require them.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, D.C., left, shakes hands with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D of Massachusetts, after the Senate voted Thursday to vote again on healthcare legislation.
Reid said the Democrats plan to move the Senate to vote Friday.
(Melina Mara/The Washington Post)A procedural vote on McConnell’s proposal is likely to be the last step in a three-week delay to healthcare legislation, and it could set up another potential showdown in which Republicans could block the measure or threaten to disrupt the work of the Senate Democrats, who have not yet made any announcements on their plan.
Republicans have threatened to disrupt Senate proceedings and force a partial government shutdown if Democrats allow the measure to move forward, even as the Senate is on recess for the Fourth of July holiday.
Senate Republicans also are expected to filibuster the bill, which is expected to face tough opposition from the White Congress and President Donald Trump.
“I believe that the Senate has the right to vote, and I believe that it should, to pass any legislation that the president proposes,” McConnell said Wednesday during a visit to a Kentucky plant that makes metal rods used in weapons and other products.
“It is my hope that this process will be completed by next week, and we will have a vote.”
Republicans have also threatened to filibuster if Democrats do not allow McConnell’s health plan to go forward.
If they block the legislation, it will likely be difficult for McConnell to bring up the measure again.
In his comments Thursday, McConnell said that the plan will “not be an impediment” to the Senate’s work.
“The Senate is expected, as I’ve said before, to take a full-fledged look at this, and as the president has said, we will vote on this legislation,” McConnell added.
The Republican-led House has passed a version of the healthcare legislation in a 227-197 vote, with only one Republican defecting.
Senate Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of the legislation Thursday.
Democrats have been pushing for the healthcare measure to pass as a way to pass their own health care bill, and