A hush-hush Senate committee meeting on the health care replacement bill happened at the exact same time
Sen. Claire McCaskill calls for transparency on health care vote.
Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday made for must-see television—and nearly 20 million Americans tuned in to watch the live broadcast. But while a distracted nation continues to sift through what Comey said—and what it actually meant—Republicans have been meeting in secret to nail down their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]Will there be a hearing on the health care proposal?[/quote]
The Senate inherited the American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare, after House Republicans steamrollered it through in early May. The majority of Americans are happy with Obamacare. However, as the Los Angeles Times reported:
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., invoked Senate Rule 14, which allows a bill to bypass committee consideration and be brought to the floor for a vote. That means no hearings and no debate, and improves the prospect of a vote before the Senate leaves Washington for its August recess.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., found out about a secret meeting that the 13-member group that’s working on the measure had at the exact same time that the Comey hearings were happening—and she was not down with the lack of transparency.
"Will there be a hearing on the health care proposal?" Senator @clairecmc asked today in the Finance Cmte. You shou… https://t.co/g3Wx2jA68R— Senate Democrats (@Senate Democrats) 1496974857
““We have no idea what’s being proposed,” says a frustrated McCaskill to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah in the clip above. “There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. … We’re not even going to have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. … It is all being done with an eye to try to get it by with 50 votes and the vice president.”
Republicans hope to pass Trumpcare in the Senate in much the same way they rammed it through the House. As the Times explains:
“McConnell’s goal is to present a bill to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis as soon as next week, so a final vote can be held before September 30. That’s the deadline for a measure to be passed this year under Senate budget reconciliation rules, which would prevent a Democratic filibuster and allow passage by the GOP’s razor-thin 52-48 majority—with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote if two Republican senators bail out and produce a tie.”
If Trumpcare is passed, it will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, deprive 23 million Americans of health care—just a few million more than the number that tuned in to watch the Comey hearings.