"Next week, Senate Republicans could pass Obamacare repeal with a simple 51-vote majority as part of the long-term highway bill, according to Sen. Mike Lee.
The Utah Republican laid out the argument in a press release after party leaders set the sequencing of votes:
"The first Obamacare vote on Sunday will have a 60 vote threshold, and Democrats will likely block it," Lee continued. "But thanks to the sequencing of the votes we just locked in, Republicans will have the opportunity resurrect that Obamacare amendment later on in the process, and put it back before the Senate in a manner that only requires a simple-majority vote."
After cloture is reached on the Export-Import Bank amendment, senators will still be allowed to offer germane amendments to the highway bill, each of which would only require a simple-majority to pass. If the Chair rules that the Obamacare amendment is non-germane, Senate Rule 22 also allows any senator to appeal that ruling to the full Senate. At that point, a simple-majority of Senators would have the power to add the Obamacare repeal amendment to the highway bill.
If Lee is correct, then Democrats, in order to save Obamacare, would need to kill the highway bill — and thus their effort to restart the expired Export-Import Bank. (Unless, of course, Republicans bail Democrats out and sink the repeal efforts.)"