The Senate on Wednesday defeated a Republican-led effort to repeal the entire national health-care overhaul, with lawmakers voting strictly along party lines. The decision underscores the hurdle that the GOP faces in that Democratic-majority chamber as it tries to overturn the law.
All 50 Senate Democrats present and one independent voted against the repeal, while all 47 Republicans voted in favor. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) were not present. The measure was proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Republicans needed the support of 13 Democrats for the measure to move forward because of a Democratic-led procedural move that set up a 60-vote hurdle.
Democrats’ unanimous opposition to the repeal came even though several vulnerable lawmakers up for re-election in 2012, including Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), had come under pressure to support repeal.
While the full repeal measure fell short, a separate health-care amendment offered by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) sailed through the Senate with bipartisan support. The Stabenow proposal, which would repeal an unpopular tax-reporting provision of the law that opponents say overburdens small businesses, passed on an 81-to-17 vote. The House has not yet considered that proposal.