Signs of Division in the GOP on ObamaCare Repeal

Senate Republican leaders this week narrowly averted an intra-party battle over ObamaCare by again promising to get a repeal bill to the president’s desk through budget reconciliation.

But the use of reconciliation — a budget tool that allows bills to bypass the Senate’s 60-vote threshold — is still a matter of debate among Republicans in Congress.

A growing number of GOP lawmakers say they would rather save reconciliation for bills that stand a chance of becoming law, unlike repeal of the healthcare law, which President Obama is certain to veto.

“Why we have to prove we’re a one-trick pony around here on ObamaCare, I don’t know,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of the House GOP leadership team, said in an interview this week.

Cole, who has voted to repeal ObamaCare more than 50 times in the House, said he would rather use reconciliation for potential areas of agreement. He specifically pointed to ideas like removing the budget caps of sequestration or reducing the annual growth in Social Security benefits, both of which Obama has previously backed.

“Sending the president a bill you know he will veto when he’s never going to be on the ballot again — I mean it’s a wasted opportunity. I’d rather pick something that he might sign,” Cole said.