Early into the morning on Thursday, Senate Republicans shadily launched their effort to repeal and replace President Barack Obama‘s landmark Affordable Care Act law in order to move forward a budget blueprint that they’re calling the Obamacare “repeal resolution.”
The Senate voted 51-48 along party lines for the measure, which works to dismantle the budget process used seven years ago to approve the landmark healthcare law.
“This resolution will set the stage for true legislative relief from Obamacare that Americans have long demanded while ensuring a stable transition,” Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi of Wyoming said, just after 1 a.m. “The Obamacare bridge is collapsing and we’re sending in a rescue team.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, one of the most vocal GOP opponents of voting on a repeal bill before coming up with a replacement package, voted against the budget resolution and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein was absent.Senators were bleary-eyed as they walked quickly to the exits, wrapping up the final vote a little before 1:30 a.m.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the top Democrat who led the late-night fight against a repeal, said the protest could be a sign of things to come as the fight stretches on.
“I think it’s important for this country to know this was not a usual thing, this is a day which lays the groundwork for 30 million people to be thrown off their health insurance,” Sanders said. “And if that happens, many of these people will die.”
The House is expected take a vote towards a resolution by Friday, which will bring about the process of crafting a second bill that would pretty much get rid of major parts of Obamacare. There are still a few weeks before Congress votes on the second bill, but Thursday still marked a victory for the Republican Party as it moves toward overhauling the country’s healthcare system.