By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, December 3, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) released a statement following the Senate’s vote on the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, reaffirming his commitment to repealing Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010).
Sen. Shelby said, “For the last five years, the American people have witnessed runaway healthcare premiums, swelling deductibles, staggering job loss, and unprecedented tax hikes under the crippling policies of Obamacare. Families and small businesses have been left on the sidelines as President Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress repeatedly block attempts to provide them with relief from this unprecedented overreach by Washington.”
Sen. Shelby continued, “I am committed to repealing this deeply flawed law, and I believe today’s vote is a critical step towards ending Obamacare and its abysmal failures. By approving this bill that is not subject to a filibuster today, Congress is forcing President Obama to either continue with his unpopular, unworkable law or give the American people what they deserve. Will President Obama finally stand with the American people and sign this bill? Or will he continue to defend his healthcare overhaul that expands the role of government into their everyday lives?”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote in an email to GOP donors, “Senate Republicans just passed a bill repealing ObamaCare. This is a major victory for every hardworking American. But Obama’s ready to veto this bill and once again disregard the wishes of the American people. We cannot give up. The American people elected Republicans to lead the United States Senate because we said we would repeal ObamaCare, and now Obama is choosing to ignore your vote. We must continue to fight and ensure that this disastrous, unworkable law is repealed once and for all.”
The Senate also voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Middle class Americans continue to call on Washington to build a bridge away from Obamacare. They want better care. They want real health reform. For too long, Democrats did everything to prevent Congress from passing the type of legislation necessary to help these Americans who are hurting. Today that ends.”
This is the first time that Republicans have used the budget reconciliation process to move forward red meat Republican issues like this. By going around the normal process, they only needed 51 votes and not the 60 needed to block a filibuster, under the arcane rules of the US Senate.
This was included in the budget reconciliation bill but was not included in the Omnibus, which must pass before December 11 or there will be another Government shutdown.
US Senator and GOP Presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement that the vote represented a “significant step towards repealing every word of Obamacare…Since before my first day in office, I pledged to do everything within my power to repeal Obamacare,” he said. “And over the last three years, I’ve worked day and night to do exactly that, sometimes to the dismay of those in Washington…This bill repeals as much of that failed law as we can under arcane Senate rules and the narrow guidelines of the budget. I am also encouraged that this bill prohibits taxpayer funds from going to abortion-providers. This bill is a substantial improvement over the original House bill, and I’m grateful to Senate conservatives and Senate leadership for joining me in making it so.”
The measure narrowly passed 52 to 47.
Senator Shelby is seeking a sixth term in the US Senate. His campaign was bolstered on Thursday, when fellow Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions endorsed Shelby’s reelection.
(Original reporting by CNN and the Blaze contributed to this report.)