It would take just 51 votes to repeal the health care law that is the centerpiece of Barack Obama's presidency if Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Sunday.
Though the Supreme Court upheld the law in its ruling released last week, McConnell argued on Fox News Sunday that the court's reasoning for upholding it opens the door for Republicans to attempt to repeal the measure through reconciliation. Such a move requires only a simple majority to pass a bill, rather than the 60 votes required to overcome a filibuster.
"The Chief Justice said it's a tax. Taxes are clearly what we call reconcilable. That's the kind of measure that can be pursued with 51 votes in the Senate," McConnell said.
He went on to make a pitch to voters wary of the law to vote Republicans into the majority in both chambers this fall.
"If I'm the leader of the majority next year, I commit to the American people that the repeal of Obamacare will be job one," he pledged.
Reconciliation is one option Republicans seem to be mulling to overturn the law, despite Democrats' assertions that the law should stand now that the Supreme Court has ruled in its favor. The House will be voting July 11 to repeal it in a largely symbolic move that won't go anywhere in the Senate, a fact not lost on McConnell. He said in order for reconciliation to work, "it would take a different Senate with a different majority leader and a different president."
But when pressed, McConnell offered few details on what Republicans would do to replace the law, saying only that they would look for common-sense solutions rather than an overwhelming, one-size-fits-all bill like the current law.
"The single biggest step we could take in the direction of improving American health care is to get rid of this monstrosity," he said.