In Close Vote, Senate Takes First Step Towards ACA Repeal

The Washington Times (1/4, Dinan) reports the Senate voted 51-48 Wednesday to “begin debate on fast-track procedures that would allow them to kill the 2010 health law without having to face a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.” The only Republican in opposition was Sen. Rand Paul, “who has expressed concerns about how Republicans are going about the repeal fight.” No Democrat voted in favor; Sen. Dianne Feinstein did not vote.

The New York Times (1/4, A1, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports the resolution instructs “four committees that control health care policy – two in the Senate, two in the House – to draft legislation within their jurisdiction that would cut at least $1 billion from the deficit over 10 years,” with “a simple majority in the Senate sufficient for passage.”

USA Today (1/4, Groppe) reports that while GOP leaders “continued to insist Wednesday that their plan to dismantle Obamacare remains on a fast track,” Vice President-elect Pence and House Speaker Ryan “offered few details about their plan of attack.”

Obama makes “rare Capitol Hill appearance” to craft ACA defense strategy Reuters (1/4, Cornwell, Cowan) reports that Obama “exhorted fellow Democrats…to preserve his legacy-defining healthcare law” in what USA Today (1/4, Korte, Kelly) called an “extraordinary meeting. … Obama’s message: Democrats should fight to expand health coverage for uninsured Americans – and to work with Republicans if they have ideas to do that.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/4, A1, Nicholas, Peterson, Armour, Subscription Publication) reports that Obama urged Democrats to defend the ACA by explaining how it has improved Americans’ lives.