Dems' motions, speeches knock GOP health bill for secrecy

Angie Massey
June 20, 2017

All of this is happening at break-neck speed while most Senate Republicans still don't know what they're supposed to be agreeing to next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell organized a 13-person working group to rewrite the House-passed measure. Republicans have held no committee meetings or votes on the measure, which McConnell is trying to produce from numerous private meetings among GOP senators. Members of the Democratic base have expressed concern that Republicans are moving forward with their health care bill while attention has been focused elsewhere - namely on the Russian Federation investigations.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., himself a member of Senate leadership, insisted that Republicans were on track to meet their June deadline, pinning the responsibility for that vote back on McConnell.

McConnell, R-Ky., is using closed-door meetings among Republicans to write a bill. There are enough of those senators, including Ohio's Rob Portman, West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito and Colorado's Cory Gardner, to tank the bill outright if the Medicaid language does not satisfy them.

BENNETT: Well, they're using parliamentary maneuvers to slow down the business of the Senate, and I'm told Democrats are planning to hold the Senate floor until at least midnight by delivering a series of floor speeches.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers seeking re-election next year "will reap the whirlwind" once voters learn about the legislation.

"When people ask me a question about Russian Federation, I say, 'I'm happy to talk to you about it, but you're going to have to listen to me talk about the health care challenge ahead, '" Sen.

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The strategy is a 180-degree shift from the Republican position during the 2009-2010 debate on Barack Obama's health care reforms, when the party demanded transparency at every step of the extended process.

Three House committees voted on that chamber's version of the bill and there were a handful of hearings before the House approved a revised version of its legislation last month.

It's just one part of a Democratic plan to "grind Senate business to a halt" until Republicans come clean about what they're trying to do in the Senate, where even many Republican Senators can't explain what kind of repeal is being cooked up by a few select men who are meeting behind closed doors.

MCEVERS: OK, so do Democrats think this tactic will give them leverage in the health care talks, or do they have another goal in mind here? Susan Collins told CNN.

That's why we have backed congressional efforts to forge a better law to offer Americans more choices and states more leeway to help citizens gain coverage.

Those hearings in particular underscore the challenges for Democrats who want the focus on the secretive nature of the GOP health care talks without being accused of blocking probes related to Russian Federation or any potential ties of President Donald Trump.

Other reports by GizPress

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