(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Democrats speak out, try to delay GOP's secret health care bill

Democrats are trying to slow down Republicans' effort to draft and pass a bill without people knowing what's in it


Matthew Rozsa
June 20, 2017 11:36AM (UTC)

Regardless of what the Senate Republicans' health care bill ultimately contains, the fact that it was developed in such secrecy is raising eyebrows.

Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that there would be a vote on the bill before July, the fact that the new legislation has yet to be presented before that body is troubling many of its members, according to a report by ABC News.

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"The Senate is not a place where you can just cook up something behind closed doors and rush it for a vote on the floor," complained Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah had a similar complaint, noting that "sooner or later, the leader has to pull it together." Because Hatch is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he will have particular need to pay attention to the contents of the final bill.

There are several reasons why Republican leadership is crafting the bill with such unprecedented secrecy, according to The Washington Post. These include avoiding potential backlash from constituents who object to aspects of the new bill, either from the left or from the right; giving the political opposition less time to mobilize against it; and establishing a precedent that can help push through other potentially unpopular legislation in the future.

Democrats will try to delay the process as much as possible to give the bill as much debate time as they can, the Washington Post reported.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of "the most glaring departure from normal legislative procedure that I have ever seen." He added that they are "writing their healthcare bill under the cover of darkness because they are ashamed of it."

Schumer also warned that "if Republicans are not going to allow debate on their bill on the floor or in committee, Democrats will make opportunities to debate."

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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