On Friday morning, July 28th, 2017, the Senate's attempt to significantly modify the ACA stalled, with all attempts to change it being voted down. This was all being done via the budget reconciliation process, to avoid having to get 60 votes.

As I understand it, this process can only be used a certain number of times within a single fiscal year. The intent by Republicans was to pass healthcare reform through reconciliation this year, and do tax reform through it for the next fiscal year.

With the voting down of the bill in the Senate, this raises a question: Can the Senate try again this fiscal year, or by bringing the bill to the floor and having it fail, did they use up their one shot?

I've heard contradictory things on this point. Some have said that since it failed, they used up their one "spending" reconciliation bill. Others have said that this isn't quite the case. That because the votes were all on amendments to the bill, that the bill itself was never voted on. And thus, its failure hasn't expended their reconciliation attempt.

Can the Senate still attempt to do something with healthcare through reconciliation, or is that over?

  • Isn't that merely Senate rules; and as such can be amended by a simple Senate vote anyway?
    – user4012
    Jul 31, 2017 at 14:08
  • In order to have bills to reconcile, there must be bills passed in both houses, first, so, I don't think the claim that they were trying to pass their initial bills via reconciliation is accurate. Jul 31, 2017 at 14:59
  • 1
    @PoloHoleSet: I've modified the title to make it more clear that I'm talking about the Senate's budget reconciliation rules, not the House/Senate bill reconciliation process. I know there's some overlap there, but the point of budget reconciliation is that a filibuster can't stop it, so you only need 50 votes. And thus, they'd be able to pass the bill without needing Democratic support. Jul 31, 2017 at 15:13
  • Related: politics.stackexchange.com/q/23184/1370 Aug 2, 2017 at 20:19
  • I think the bigger issue is McCain is out for a while, so the Senate republicans simply can't get enough votes.
    – user1530
    Aug 3, 2017 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


While it is theoretically possible for the U.S. Senate to pass a healthcare bill through committee, this is unlikely for the remainder of 2017 because three committees have jurisdiction over healthcare, including:

  1. Finance,
  2. Budget, and
  3. Health, Education, Labor & Pensions.

However, since the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate was declared a tax by the U.S Supreme Court in June 2012, this provision can be eliminated as part of the 2017 tax reform that is currently progressing through both houses of the U.S. Congress.

As of November 15, 2017, a provision to repeal the individual healthcare mandate is being discussed as part of the Senate's version of the tax overhaul bill.

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