Dems hit secrecy of GOP health care bill, threaten delays


Lacking the votes to block this year's GOP effort, Democrats are looking to score political points by targeting the closely held process Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is using to write legislation replacing much of Obama's statute.

Democrats are citing the lack of transparency in the process, blasting Republicans in the upper chamber for opting against holding committee hearings on the bill, Politico reports.

"If Republicans are not going to allow debate on their bill on the floor or in committee, Democrats will make opportunities to debate", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking Monday on the Senate floor.

The Senate version of the healthcare bill is being drafted by a small group of GOP aids led by McConnell and analysts say a bill with such large ramifications for the entire country being developed in secrecy is unprecedented.

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"If Republicans won't relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn't expect business as usual in the Senate", Schumer said. 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.

Democrats held the Senate floor for several hours late Monday and promised to use procedural tactics to slow the Senate's work, to focus attention on the Republican effort. They say they will slow work on bills by refusing to let the Senate bypass time-consuming procedural steps, which it customarily does on most legislation.

Leaders are negotiating a plan without public hearings, as they push for a swift floor vote by the July 4th break.

Indeed, Republicans have continued to butt up against an impossible task: they must either remove millions from their healthcare, or they must admit that preexisting conditions is a vital, unremovable part of American healthcare in 2017.

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President Donald Trump has been eager for quick action, although in a closed-door luncheon with 15 GOP senators last week, he described a House-passed bill as "mean".

The bill passed by House Republicans last month would phase out in 2020 a Medicaid expansion to additional low-income people.

With just 10 legislative days before McConnell's deadline, all that most lawmakers and the public have to work on is the House bill, which a non-partisan congressional review predicted would leave 23 million fewer people insured over the next decade.

"At the end of the process, Congress will have a chance to turn the page on this failed law", he said Monday.

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