Brian Darling
Anticipating victory in November’s elections, both parties are working up their legislative plans for 2013. Republicans, looking forward to regaining a Senate majority along with the White House, will have repeal of ObamaCare high on their list.

But how to do it? Attempts to repeal the law in the current Congress have fallen short. Flush with gains from the 2010 election that gave Republicans control of the House, the lower chamber made ObamaCare repeal Job #2. On January 19, 2011, H.R. 2, the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” passed the House on a 245-189 vote. In never got a vote in the Senate.

Same story this year. The House passed (244-185) a full repeal bill, H.R. 6079, in July, right after the Supreme Court ruling. Again, the Senate refused to consider the bill.

Clearly, repeal will not happen next year unless both the Senate and the Oval Office change hands. Yet, even if that happens, the standard legislative process will not be adequate to strip the law from the books. The filibuster power would allow a pro-ObamaCare minority to stop repeal legislation in its tracks… unless a new Senate leadership adopted a new strategy.

That strategy requires, first and foremost, commitment. The new leadership must be committed to the proposition that full repeal of ObamaCare is the first order of business for the next Congress—to the exclusion of any other work. In other words, leaders of the new Senate majority must resolve that no other legislation shall pass until they send a full repeal bill to the desk of a new President.

With that commitment in place, here’s how the strategy would play out. First, the House convenes and passes legislation to fully repeal ObamaCare on day one. Then the Senate would take up the legislation, forcing a vote. Liberals would be expected to filibuster, but Senate leadership would keep putting the bill on the floor—to the exclusion of any other Senate work—until the opposition allows a simple majority vote. The Senate Majority Leader has the power to force liberals to filibuster the legislation for weeks, or even months, if he has the will.

Brian Darling

Brian Darling is a Senior Fellow in Government Studies at the Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHDarling