The defunding Planned Parenthood provision could change.
Senate Republicans are about to consider a House bill defunding Planned Parenthood and portions of Obamacare after receiving a green light from the official who advises on proper procedure. But, experts caution, the bill may face significant roadblocks.
A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the parliamentarian—the officer overseeing Senate procedure—confirmed the House bill on the two hot-button issues “can proceed under the rules of reconciliation.”
Republicans hope the legislation will neutralize the threat of a Democrat filibuster and move more easily through the Senate as a reconciliation measure. Only by addressing government spending and revenue can a bill receive special reconciliation status, which requires just 51 votes to pass instead of the regular 60.
In the Senate, such measures are governed by a procedural statute called the Byrd rule. They must be budgetary in nature to qualify for special status, and any significant policy reforms must be “merely incidental.” If a bill fails this test, it must attract 60 of the Senate’s 100 votes to pass.
In addition to defunding Planned Parenthood, the House bill would end Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates requiring the purchase of health insurance. It also would repeal taxes on medical devices and so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans.