Senate GOP drops push to ‘defund Obamacare’

Andrew Taylor
Associated Press

Washington — Republicans controlling the Senate are abandoning an effort to use their power over the federal purse strings to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The more pragmatic approach with a huge $164 billion spending measure reflects a hope by top Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to remove veto bait from must-pass spending bills in hopes of advancing them more easily.

President Barack Obama has already vetoed separate legislation aimed at repealing the law, and he has easily kept language to “defund Obamacare” out of the final versions of annual funding bills.

Top bill sponsor Sen. Roy Blunt is instead focusing on boosting medical research, Pell Grants for low-income college students, and additional money to treat opioid or heroin addicts.

The measure sailed through a Senate Appropriations panel Tuesday morning.