In case you missed it, on Wednesday night the U.S. Senate took its first step on the journey to repeal large parts of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Among those in attendance at the late-night vote was Minnesota's Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who voted against the budget resolution put forward in the GOP-led Senate. In fact, all Democrats voted against the resolution.
He explained his reasoning in a tweet on Thursday, which is as amusing as you'd expect from a Saturday Night Live alumnus.
Franken's tweet is also repeating a talking point Democrats have been going to for awhile – including Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey over the weekend.
They and others are referring to the fact that for all the maneuvers to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republican lawmakers haven't put forward any concrete plans for how they intend to replace it so that millions of Americans don't lose their health insurance. The Washington Post wrote about this last week.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants the Affordable Care Act to be repealed, and has offered broad outlines on alterations – including changing rules on how insurance can be sold across state lines, tweaks to tax law to allow deductions on premium payments, and other measures. But it's up to Congress to repeal or pass laws, so whether Trump's suggestions ever get into a bill isn't known.
What does last night's vote mean?
As NBC News reports, the 51-48 vote in the early hours of Thursday morning lays the groundwork for the stripping back of the ACA.
The actual bill passed by the Senate was a budget resolution, but it sets out that major parts of the ACA can be repealed through the process of "reconciliation."
The only Republican not to vote for the resolution was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Reconciliation bills cannot be filibustered (which requires a 60-40 majority to be overturned) so only require a simple majority to pass, NPR reports. With Republicans holding 52 of the 100 Senate seats it will mean certain aspects of the health act – also dubbed "Obamacare" – are vulnerable to repeal irrespective of Democrats' efforts to stop it.
Gothamist reports parts of the act that can be repealed through reconciliation relate to government spending or taxation – like making health insurance required, and subsidizing Medicaid funds.
But Congress can't use reconciliation to repeal measures requiring companies to provide insurance for people with pre-existing conditions, or allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plans.
The resolution will now go to the U.S. House. The vote to repeal the health care law will come after a replacement is worked out, with Republicans giving themselves a deadline of Jan 27, NBC News notes.