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The latest Republican-led effort to repeal the health care reform law ended in defeat Sunday when the Senate turned back a repeal amendment by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Sen. McConnell sought to attach the amendment to a broader highway funding bill, but the Senate rejected the proposal on a 49-43 vote in an unusual Sunday session. The proposal needed 60 votes to be attached to the highway bill.
Prior to the vote, Sen. McConnell said on the Senate floor that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is “a law filled with higher costs, fewer choices and broken promises.”
But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said prior to the Senate vote that he was “disappointed by these continued partisan attempts to strip away insurance coverage for almost 20 million Americans,” adding that “it is time for Republicans to move on and not take another politically motivated vote that is going nowhere.”
The House of Representatives on several occasions during the last few years has voted to repeal the health care law, but the Senate, which until January was under Democratic control, didn't act on those measures.
The broader highway funding bill to which Sen. McConnell wanted to attach the ACA repeal amendment also includes a provision that would stretch out by four years until the end of 2025 a federal law that allows employers to remove surplus assets from overfunded pension plans to pay for retiree health care benefits.
Big businesses and unions, traditionally foes at the bargaining table, have both voiced disdain for the health care reform law's “Cadillac” tax on generous health plans. Now, they plan on turning up the heat to repeal it.