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Washington - Democrats Stall Senate Work To Protest Healthcare Secrecy

Published on: June 19, 2017 04:34 PM
By: Reuters
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FILE - In this April 6, 2017 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats plan to slow the Senate's work, force votes and make late-night speeches in an effort to focus attention on how Republicans are crafting legislation revamping the nation's health care system behind closed doors, a senior Democratic aide said Monday, June 19, 2017.  (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)FILE - In this April 6, 2017 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats plan to slow the Senate's work, force votes and make late-night speeches in an effort to focus attention on how Republicans are crafting legislation revamping the nation's health care system behind closed doors, a senior Democratic aide said Monday, June 19, 2017.  (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Washington - U.S. Senate Democrats said they plan to slow Senate business to a crawl starting Monday evening to protest behind-the-scenes Republican work on repealing former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, known as Obamacare.

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Democrats will take advantage of Senate rules which allow any member to object to moving forward with routine business, a Democratic aide said. This could slow Senate operations by forcing the Republican majority to hold additional procedural votes in order to move ahead.

Democrats object to closed-door meetings that Republicans have held in recent weeks to craft legislation to replace Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act. Republican leaders would like a vote in July, even before the July 4 recess if possible.

“What Democrats are aiming to do is highlight how appalling it is for Republicans to try to jam through a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy, and would undermine the health and financial security of patients and families nationwide, without so much as a single public hearing or a robust floor debate,” said the Democratic aide, who asked not to be named.

It was unclear how long the Democrats would stage their protest. Asked to comment, a spokesman for Republican Majority leader Mitch McConnell said only that the Senate intended to vote on nominees for Trump administration positions in the coming days.

Senate Republicans also face pressure from the right. In the House of Representatives, conservatives wrote to McConnell about media reports on the Senate’s work. Conservatives worry that the changes may make it harder to pass the legislation in the House.

Reports that Senate Republicans are considering phasing out the Obamacare Medicaid expansion over three to seven years, instead of ending it in 2020 as the House bill would, have upset some House conservatives, as have other details that have leaked from the Senate talks. Medicaid is the government healthcare program for the poor.

“We write to express our serious concerns,” the letter from House conservatives said, that the Senate efforts “are headed in a direction that may jeopardize final passage in the House of Representatives.”

The Republican Study Committee, the largest group of House conservatives, was circulating the letter for signatures, said a House Republican aide, who asked not to be named. The group is chaired by Representative Mark Walker.

Even without outside pressure, Senate Republicans have struggled to coalesce around an Obamacare replacement bill, with moderates and conservatives in the party pushing in different directions.

The House narrowly approved its version of repeal last month. However, Republican President Donald Trump last week urged the Senate to pass a more generous replacement program.



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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 19, 2017 at 05:07 PM Educated Archy Says:

yes repealing the terrible ACA is much harder than we imagined, Once free goodies are dished out its impossible to take it back. Did you ever try taking away nosh or toys from your goods? Once its in your house its too late. SO very sad that only 47% are not on programs.

2

 Jun 19, 2017 at 05:30 PM Anonymous Says:

The hypocrisy is astounding! When the phony democrats were rammin through the disastrous obamacare with absolutely zero republican support, and were asked to reveal WHAT was in the plan, Nancy Pelosi unabashedly said, "You'll have to wait until it passes to find out what's in it!" They are u believably dishonest, traitors to America, interested only in their own selfish careers and up dedicated to America. G- d bless President Trump whose only concern is the American people!

3

 Jun 20, 2017 at 11:22 AM Lawrence M. Reisman Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

The hypocrisy is astounding! When the phony democrats were rammin through the disastrous obamacare with absolutely zero republican support, and were asked to reveal WHAT was in the plan, Nancy Pelosi unabashedly said, "You'll have to wait until it passes to find out what's in it!" They are u believably dishonest, traitors to America, interested only in their own selfish careers and up dedicated to America. G- d bless President Trump whose only concern is the American people!

Actually, the Democrats tried to get the Republicans involved, and they refused to have anything to do with it. The omission of a government insurance plan was a direct concession to the Republicans. Obamacare came out of an American Enterprise Institute model, similar to what Massachusetts adopted under Mitt Romney. The bill was printed up and distributed to everyone who wanted to see it. It was the subject of open hearings at which members of the public could testify or submit comments, both in the House and the Senate. It was the subject of floor debate in both houses, and amendments were proposed from the floor. Everything was open and above-board. Nancy Pelosi's comment was that it would have to become law to see all the benefits it provided.

The Republicans chose to abstain from the process of adopting it. As Mitch McConnell put it, they didn't want it to be stained by any hint of bi-partisanship.

4

 Jun 20, 2017 at 06:16 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #3  
Lawrence M. Reisman Says:

Actually, the Democrats tried to get the Republicans involved, and they refused to have anything to do with it. The omission of a government insurance plan was a direct concession to the Republicans. Obamacare came out of an American Enterprise Institute model, similar to what Massachusetts adopted under Mitt Romney. The bill was printed up and distributed to everyone who wanted to see it. It was the subject of open hearings at which members of the public could testify or submit comments, both in the House and the Senate. It was the subject of floor debate in both houses, and amendments were proposed from the floor. Everything was open and above-board. Nancy Pelosi's comment was that it would have to become law to see all the benefits it provided.

The Republicans chose to abstain from the process of adopting it. As Mitch McConnell put it, they didn't want it to be stained by any hint of bi-partisanship.

At the end of the day it's a horrible bill and must be repealed. I don't care if Mitt Rommeny did the same thing. Its not working.

And a government insurance plan would wreck our system. So thank the lord for that that. I do not want another hadassah hospital fiasco where a hospital is forced to decide between serving sick children with cancer or money.

5

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