Democrats stall Senate work to protest healthcare secrecy


The move coincides with a new #AmericaSpeaksOut campaign Senate Democrats launched Monday urging Americans to "speak out against Trumpcare and share their stories".

Schumer and Democrats called for the GOP's House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill to go through a hearing process, where members from both parties could debate the bill publicly before it is brought to a vote.

Yet Republicans continue to move forward with a proposal that is reportedly even more cruel than the House bill praised by Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, with drastic cuts to Medicaid in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.

Senate Democrats are escalating their attack on Republicans' plans to repeal Obamacare this week, though their party remains divided on how far to take activists' demands that they shut down the Senate in protest of the GOP's dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. As Politico noted, while some Democrats in the Senate are planning to block lengthy committee hearings on Tuesday, it's not clear whether the whole of the party is committed to maintaining the standoff beyond the start of the week.

Several senators took turns standing and requesting that the Republican healthcare bill be referred to committee for hearings and calling for the draft text to be published.

McConnell has defended the Republicans' process, but some GOP Senators, such as Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, have complained about the secrecy.

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Yes, the deck was stacked against the GOP back then because Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, but that did not push most of the process behind closed doors. One rule that won't be changed for health care is the need for a cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, which is mandatory before a Senate vote (but not in the House). That was nearly four weeks of time on the Senate floor, as Democrats massaged the details of the measure (and came up with changes like the Cornhusker Kickback).

A McConnell spokesman said on Monday he had no scheduling updates to provide. He said the entire Senate Republican conference has been "active and engaged" for months on legislation that would stabilize insurance markets, remove mandates to buy insurance, and preserve access to care for those with pre-existing conditions.

"We have to be part of the political process like we've never been before", Sanders said.

It's not just Democrats who have been left out of the health care deliberations. Their largely symbolic effort was likely to have little or no impact on how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell handles the measure.

Patty Murray (D-Wash.), comes as Democrats are under growing pressure to grind the Senate to a halt as the fight over ObamaCare's fate enters a key two-week stretch.