Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill – The Hill
Democrats can’t block a healthcare bill on their own, but are threatening to shut down the Senate in retaliation for Republicans negotiating their legislation in a string of closed-door GOP-only meetings.
The move, they hope, will put Republicans on the defense as they look to force a vote as soon as next week, when lawmakers will leave for the July 4th recess.
“This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerSanders to GOP on healthcare bill: ‘What are you afraid of?’ Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Live coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan MORE said from the Senate floor. “If the Republicans won’t debate their healthcare in the open for the American people to see, they shouldn’t expect business as usual.”A senior Senate Democratic aide said senators will begin objecting to routine unanimous consent requests, with a narrow exception for non-controversial “honorary resolutions.”
If Democrats stick to their tactics it will allow them to cut-short committee hearings and block meetings after the Senate has been in session for two hours.
They’ll also use the Senate’s procedural rulebook to try to derail the bill — moves that are unlikely to succeed given the Republican majority — and draw comparisons between the GOP process and the months of public debate over the Affordable Care Act.
An aide declined to say when Democrats would announce any next potential steps. But Schumer signaled that Democrats could further escalate their fight, saying the moves announced on Monday are “merely the first steps we’re prepared to take.”
“Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple,” he said.
Schumer’s comments are being echoed across the Democratic caucus.
Several Democrats, including Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump administration pushing to weaken Russia sanctions bill: report Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle MORE (Ohio) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Live coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan Dems push to require Senate hearing for ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (Ore.), demanded on Monday that Republican “show us the bill.” Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump welcomes Gorsuch on first Supreme Court visit Why higher education is in need of regulatory relief MORE (D-Colo.) argued Republicans are “so ashamed” of the health care bill, “they won’t even share it with GOP colleagues.”
Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to GOP on healthcare bill: ‘What are you afraid of?’ Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Live coverage: Senate Dems hold talkathon to protest GOP health plan MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren cites ‘avalanche’ of opposition to GOP health bill Sanders to GOP on healthcare bill: ‘What are you afraid of?’ Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill MORE (D-Mass.) both pledged during a joint Facebook Q&A that they would use any procedural tool available to try to quash the GOP bill.
Sanders said Republicans are negotiating behind closed doors because their bill “stinks to high hell.”
Republicans fired back, arguing Democrats have done nothing to help them improve the healthcare system.
“Senate Ds threatening obstruction this week. But what’s new? They refuse to lift a finger to help with runaway premiums under Obamacare,” Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Overnight Finance: Ryan seeks manufacturing muscle for tax reform | Warren targets Wells Fargo board | Senators raise concerns over Russian takeover of Citgo | Pelosi hits GOP for budget delays Senators ask administration to probe possible Russian takeover of Citgo MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said on Twitter on Monday.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSanders to GOP on healthcare bill: ‘What are you afraid of?’ Ryan seeks manufacturing muscle for tax push Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill MORE (R-Ky.) added from the Senate floor that the status quo is “simply unsustainable.”