Make no mistake. It will require a lot of will. Opposition will be determined, as well, notwithstanding the fact that many liberal Democratic Senators have loudly deplored filibustering. Indeed, last year Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) lead an effort to scale back the filibuster power. However, liberal opposition to the idea of a filibuster historically evaporates just as soon as they find themselves in the Senate minority. It is doubtful that anti-filibuster Democrats will stand on principle and refuse to filibuster a full repeal of ObamaCare on the first try, so many cloture votes will be necessary.
The most effective tool for breaking a filibuster is urgency—as created by the introduction of must-pass legislation. And a very real sense of urgency may be provided soon by the Department of Treasury. Not long after the elections, Treasury is expected notify Congress of the need to raise the debt ceiling. Thus, a debt ceiling increase might be demanded sometime early next year.
Now, the Congressional Budget Office may score repeal as adding to the deficit. If so, the amendment could also include commonsense measures—such as increasing Medicare premiums—to off-set the alleged cost of repeal. Or, it could simply cite the numerous studies showing that ObamaCare is, in fact, a budget buster—and that repeal would save much, much more over time.
In any event, conservatives should attach the full-repeal bill to any debt-ceiling measure that is introduced. Indeed, a full-repeal amendment should be attached to every piece of legislation that comes before the Senate, until repeal is passed.
Certainly this isn’t the only strategy possible to repeal ObamaCare. But it’s the simplest. Success hinges on a strong-willed leadership to keep the Senate on legislation to repeal ObamaCare until it is passed. If conservatives force liberals be in the position of using the dreaded and demonized filibuster to thwart the will of the American people and Congress – the liberals will cave.