01/23/2011 11:18 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dick Durbin Admits Senate May Face Health Care Repeal Vote (VIDEO)

NEW YORK -- Even though the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" has no chance of passing the Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly said he won't be bringing it to the floor for a vote, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) admitted on Sunday that Republicans may be able to force a vote on full repeal. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also vowed that Republicans will continue try to dismantle the law "piece by piece."

Last week, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a full repeal of health care reform, with three Democrats crossing the aisle to join the GOP. Both Republicans and Democrats have admitted that there don't seem to be enough votes for a repeat performance in the Senate, and President Obama would undoubtedly veto it if it made its way to his desk.

On "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace asked Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) how Democrats could stop Republicans from bringing up a repeal vote in the Senate. Durbin admitted that at some point, Republicans could offer it as an amendment.

"Harry Reid has said we're not going to bring up repeal of health care reform," said Durbin. "If some Republican senator wants to offer it as an amendment at some point, it's possible they will. It's possible we'll face that vote. But having spoken to my members in the Democratic caucus with Sen. Reid, we feel there's still strong support for health care reform."

During an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y. ) said, "If the Republicans offer an amendment on the floor, then we will require them to vote on the individual protections in the bill that are very popular and that even some of the new Republican House members have said they support."

On "Fox News Sunday," McConnell hinted that he has figured out a parliamentary maneuver to get a vote on full repeal in the Senate, although he didn't say what it was. He added that Republicans will continue to go after the law in other ways:

I don't know why the Democrats don't want to vote on it. They're proud of it. They think it's one of the most important things they've done for the country. [...]

If they don't want to have the vote, we'll have the vote. I won't discuss how we'll do it from a parliamentary point of view here, but it's very hard to deny people votes in the Senate, and I assure you we'll have a vote on repeal. And if that does not pass -- and I don't think anyone is optimistic that it will -- we intend to go after this health care bill in every way that we can. It's the single worst piece of legislation that's been passed in my time in the Senate. The American people get it, they understand here what has happened, and we need to try to repeal it overall, and then go back after it piece by piece, and try to do what we can to keep it from being implemented.

In November, McConnell told the conservative Federalist Society that he was also counting on the courts to strike down health care reform and declare it unconstitutional. "We will make the case for repeal through vigorous oversight and vote on full repeal of this terrible bill, even as we vote to eliminate its worst parts," he said. "And we'll continue to fight it in the courts."


Opposition to the health care law has been dropping since the November elections, and just 18 percent of the public believe that repealing health care reform should be Congress' top priority. Forty-three percent, however, say that the legislative chamber should be focusing on job creation.