The Republicans know that time is short. They have been contemplating even doing away with their August recess so that they can get the work done that they have promised the American people. But their effort to overhaul the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare led to a standoff in the Senate.
The Democrats on Monday night used parliamentary maneuvers to slow the whole process down as a coordinated protest against GOP leadership. The Democrats are angry that a small group of Republicans has been working in secret for weeks, shielding both their party leadership and the public from viewing the bill and the negotiations around it. Their frustration with what they call the GOP’s “shameful” and “secret” legislative process led them to keep the Senate floor occupied with a series of back-to-back speeches.
“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. “And these are merely the first steps we’re prepared to take in order to shine a light on the shameful Trump care bill and reveal to the public the GOP’s backroom deal-making.”
Schumer’s actions were cheered on social media as he forced Mitch McConnell to object to a motion to hold public hearings on the health care bill. Schumer then pressed McConnell to commit to 10 hours of open debate. Democrats just literally inserted themselves in the process they were excluded from on purpose.
It’s not just Democrats who feel out of the loop. Some Republicans are growing leery of the secret process. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said that health care legislation should eventually be subject to open debate. “If it’s an effort to rush it from a small group of people straight to the floor on an up or down vote, it’ll be a problem,” Rubio said on CNN’s State of the Union.
“Nobody is hiding the ball here,” McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters last week defending the process. “There have been gazillions of hearings on this subject when [Democrats] were in the majority when we were in the majority. We understand the issue very well, and we are now coming up with a solution.”
Chuck Schumer is not buying McConnell’s defense. “There’s only one reason why Republicans are doing this: They’re ashamed of their bill,” said Schumer on Monday. “The Republicans are writing their health care bill under the cover of darkness because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple.”
What do you think about the way that the Democrats have handled the Republican process of creating this new healthcare bill?