In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Senate Dems Plot Aggressive Strategy To Fight Health Care Repeal


"Senior staff are giving serious consideration to the strategy of forcing Republicans to take tough votes on extremely popular elements of the health care law, including the doughnut hole provision, as well as pre-existing conditions," the aide said.

That's not what you might expect given recent developments. After the House passed its repeal bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to force a vote on it. "The Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn't want to vote on this bill. But I assure you, we will," he said.

Jon Summers, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, responded with an amusing, one-word statement to reporters: "Unlikely."

But even Democrats acknowledge McConnell can use a variety of Senate procedural tools -- some obscure, some common -- to force that vote. Given that reality, Dems are signaling they won't accept that passively.

That could mean forcing votes on repealing popular provisions, or it could mean forcing votes on exempting popular provisions from a more global repeal push. But at the very least, it seems, they won't be caught flatfooted.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at