Democrats to halt Senate business in health care protest

Angie Massey
June 20, 2017

Republican leaders would like a vote in July, even before the July 4 recess if possible.

"Republicans are writing their healthcare bill under the cover of darkness because they are ashamed of it", Schumer charged.

CHUCK SCHUMER: If Republicans are not going to allow debate on their bill on the floor in committee, Democrats will make opportunities to debate.

On Monday, Schumer and three other Democrats on the Senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions sent a letter addressed to Republican leaders demanding that they "schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the healthcare bill that you are now drafting in secret".

Beginning Monday night, Democrats will begin interrupting Senate business in an effort to resist the Obamacare replacement law that's being negotiated by Republicans behind closed doors, according to Politico and later confirmed independently by ThinkProgress.

Democrats will begin slow-walking Senate business on Monday as part of their opposition to Republican attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Sanders noted what he considers the potentially disastrous consequences of the House's version of the bill, which passed by a slim margin last month.

Democrats took the Senate floor on Monday night to protest closed-door negotiations by the Republican majority to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans also face pressure from the right.

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Schumer and other Democrats called for the Senate to agree unanimously agree to send the health care bill through the hearing process, in which members from both parties could debate the bill publicly before it is brought to the Senate floor for a vote. We will seek, in as many ways as we can, in as many times as we can, to refer the House-passed health care bill to committee.

Republicans say they are working toward a goal of lowering insurance premiums for Americans.

Weeks in the making during private lunch-time meetings, the Senate bill is likely to reflect the House GOP's effort and loosen Obamacare's provisions to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Democrats speculate that Republicans want to keep details of the bill undercover to prevent a public backlash against the bill, similar to what happened the first time the Republican bill went through the GOP-controlled House and failed to gather enough votes for passage.

"Obamacare continues to collapse", McConnell said.

Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group, is urging its members to ask Democratic senators to "resist through procedure" by blocking routine committee hearings or filibustering on the Senate floor.

"It's an iterative process", Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico, adding that senators in the room are sending options to the Congressional Budget Office to try to figure out in general how much they would cost.

If Senate Republicans plan to win moderate votes by spending more on health insurance subsidies and by delaying the phase-out of Medicaid expansion under the PPACA, they will need to find a way to pay for it, The Hill points out.

Senate Democrats, in taking action Monday, are inserting themselves into a process that has excluded them by design.

Other reports by GizPress

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