Senate Republicans are considering whether to ask the Trump administration to score Sen. Ted Cruz's, R-Texas, amendment to the Senate healthcare bill as an alternative to the Congressional Budget Office.
A Republican Senate aide told Independent Journal Review that Senate Republicans may ask the Department of Health and Human Services to score Cruz's amendment, called the Consumer Freedom Option, instead of waiting for the nonpartisan CBO.
Using a score from the Department of Health and Human Services would speed up the timeline for a vote on the Senate's healthcare bill, since an analysis of the Cruz amendment from the CBO could take weeks, insiders told IJR.
Cruz's amendment, a revised version of which was in an updated draft of the healthcare bill released Thursday, allows insurance companies that sell at least one plan that complies with Obamacare's regulations to sell others that do not.
Senate Republican leaders want to hold a vote on the bill repealing and replacing parts of Obamacare next week. However, it's uncertain whether a score from HHS would comply with rules governing the budget reconciliation process.
Republicans are using reconciliation to fast-track their healthcare plan through the Senate, where 51 votes are needed for a reconciliation bill to pass.
A Senate GOP aide told IJR budget projections for reconciliation bills don't need to come from the CBO. Rather, it would be up to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., to determine whether a score from HHS would be acceptable under the Congressional Budget Act.
If Enzi decided a score from HHS was acceptable, Republicans could proceed with their healthcare bill without waiting for CBO.