(UPI) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested changing Senate rules to allow bills to pass with a simple majority in an effort to pass healthcare and tax reform.
“The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump and Republicans in Congress are working to pass the American Health Care Act in the Senate. The GOP effort to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, passed in the House on May 4.
The filibuster in the Senate allows lawmakers to hold up legislation if a bill does not pass with 60 votes. Democrats unanimously oppose the AHCA and Senate Republicans are divided over the bill.
Republicans are avoiding a filibuster on the AHCA bill by presenting it through a process called budget reconciliation that allows bills to pass without a 60-vote threshold as long as it cuts the federal deficit.
Republicans — having 54 Senate seats — could pass the AHCA, but party leaders haven’t consolidated GOP support for the bill. The Trump administration has said it hopes to pass healthcare reform prior to tackling tax reform.
In a similar move to Trump’s suggestion, Senate Republicans in April chose to lower the vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees from 60 to 51 to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch — referred to as the “nuclear option.” In 2013, Senate Democrats similarly changed the rules for judicial nominees below the Supreme Court.
The Congressional Budget Office last week issued its review of the current AHCA proposal, saying it would leave 14 million more Americans uninsured next year than the ACA would have. The CBO said that 23 million people would lose coverage by 2026.
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