By DAVID DUBNERWASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwired – March 11, 2020) – The Senate is set to vote Thursday on a bill to fund the government for a week and end the government shutdown.
This week, the Senate has been deliberating a bill that would provide a three-month extension to fund government operations for Americans until March 27, 2020.
But if passed by the Senate, it would leave in place a plan to delay the health care law until at least March 23, 2020, a move that could leave millions of Americans without insurance coverage for weeks.
“This would be a terrible thing for the American people,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said during a press conference on March 8.
“We can’t afford to have a massive health care crisis.”
Sanders wants to extend the shutdown and extend the health bill until March 31, 2020 to give Americans a chance to buy insurance on the exchanges in time for the end of the shutdown.
However, if the Senate passes this bill, the House would have to agree to the extension.
This is the second time this year that the Senate failed to agree on a health care package.
On March 10, the measure passed by a vote of 68 to 30, despite Democratic objections.
Sanders said that this time, the Democratic majority is not as unified as it was in the previous bill.
“I think the majority of the Senate is going to vote in favor of the extension, but the minority will oppose it,” Sanders said.
“If I’m the minority leader, I’ll do everything I can to defeat this extension.”
The health bill also includes a number of other measures that are likely to affect millions of American families, such as:The Senate bill also would end the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires many Americans to have insurance to be eligible for subsidies to help pay for insurance, and provide a temporary $250 billion in tax relief for families making up to $250,000 per year.
In addition, the bill includes a measure that would extend a program that allows children and their parents to remain on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 18, which Sanders said will help millions of young people.
On March 15, Sanders was able to secure the support of eight Republican senators to pass the bill.
But this week, it was not enough.
The Senate did not have enough votes to pass a bill by the end, and it is expected to take weeks to vote on the extension bill.
A Senate spokeswoman said that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been negotiating with Senate leadership to extend it until March 30.
However this is a complicated process and Paul is currently in New York and will not be in Washington for the vote.
The Kentucky Senator’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
A spokesman for the Senate GOP leadership said the legislation is not a final bill.
The spokesman added that there is a process in place for the leadership to take up the extension package.
“As of now, the Republican leadership is negotiating with Senator Rand to extend this extension through the end on March 30,” said spokesman Ryan Davis.
“There is no final vote on this extension bill as of now.
We expect to be working with the Senate leadership on the final bill and will make a final decision on it as soon as it is finalized.”
The Senate will vote on Thursday on the bill as part of the continuing resolution that funds the government.