WASHINGTON – Democrats will try forcing a campaign-season vote on blocking a Trump administration rule allowing insurers to sell short-term plans that are cheaper but skimpier than allowed under the Obama health care law, party leaders said Thursday.
Though the effort has a chance of passing the narrowly divided Senate, it is certain to die in the Republican-controlled House.
Even so, Democrats believe a pre-election Senate vote would put GOP senators in a difficult spot because the new plans won’t necessarily contain popular features like covering people with pre-existing medical conditions or certain benefits like prescription drugs.
“This is an issue the American people should know where everyone stands,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a conference call with reporters. With many Republicans saying they back covering people with pre-existing medical problems, Schumer added, “Let them instead of saying they’re for it actually do something to preserve pre-existing conditions.”
Democrats said they will use the seldom-utilized Congressional Review Act, which under some circumstances lets any senator force a vote on overturning recent actions taken by federal agencies.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who faces a potentially competitive re-election contest in November, will lead the effort.
Republicans control the Senate 51-49, but Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been gone since December battling brain cancer.
Democrats would need at least one GOP lawmaker to side with them to prevail in the Senate. They are viewed as having a chance of capturing Senate control in this fall’s elections.
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