Republican senators are refusing to commit to eliminating funding for Medicaid over the next decade.
The Senate voted 46-41 Tuesday to block any further cuts to the $2.9 billion annual federal Medicaid program that helps the most vulnerable people in the country.
The decision by GOP Sens.
Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R.
Ky., comes as President Donald Trump continues to push lawmakers to pass a budget.
It will be the first time since the Obama administration ended the Medicaid expansion that a GOP Senate does not vote to repeal the expansion.
“The people of Utah deserve better,” Lee said in a statement.
“The Trump administration should take the next steps to end the expansion and make sure the money is used to help those in need.”
Lee’s amendment, which would have eliminated $1.9 million for Utah and Idaho and $4.2 million for Nevada and Idaho, would have triggered an automatic 30-day period for Congress to act on the funding cut.
The Republican senators were able to block the legislation because of the “legislative impasse” that had existed since Trump’s inauguration.
They have also voted to delay a Medicaid expansion for more than a year.
The bill would have cut $6 billion from the Medicaid program over a decade.
It was first approved by the House of Representatives in May.
The White House has pushed to preserve the Medicaid funding, arguing that the program has helped millions of people.
Lee’s and Paul’s vote will likely prompt GOP leaders to seek an alternative plan for ending the Medicaid deal, which has not yet been put forward.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R, of New Jersey, have been working on a plan to continue the Medicaid spending without cutting any federal funding.