Republican leaders continue to keep the bill writing process for the Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, behind closed doors. It is unclear when the bill will be released to the public.
Democratic senators have been increasingly concerned ever since Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) invoked Senate Rule 14 for the bill. This rule allows for Republicans to circumvent the usually required committee hearings in order to quickly put the bill on the floor for a vote. It is being widely reported that party leaders are purposely shielding details of the proposal from Democratic colleagues and the public.
Democrats are outraged over the lack of transparency in the bill writing process by their Republican colleagues. One example is Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who on June 8th stated during a Senate Finance Committee meeting, “We have no idea what is being proposed…there were no hearings in the House…There is a group of guys in a backroom somewhere that is making these decisions.” The “group of guys” referenced in the Senators statement are the thirteen members of the working on the Senate bill, all of whom are white male Republicans.
Senator McCaskill made clear that no Democratic Senators have any idea what is being purposed in the bill, therefore making it impossible for them to offer suggestions or amendments. She pointed out that Democrats were criticized for their partisanship during the passage of President Barack Obama’s health care plan in 2010. However, she emphasized that “dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted” due to hearings proceedings before the bill was brought for a vote.
There is a strong push by Senate Republicans to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess, but there are no new announcements about when the bill will be released. According to a new Quinnipiac University Poll, a majority of American voters disapprove of the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Fifty-six percent of those polled said they disapprove of the AHCA version passed in the House, while only twenty-one percent approve, and twenty-two percent did not know or provide an answer.
Media Resources: Axios 6/8/17; Mother Jones 6/12/17; The Kansas City Star 6/9/17; Washington Examiner 6/8/17