The Democrats Stage a Senate Slowdown Over Health Care

By Russell Berman

Senate Democrats can’t stop Republicans from passing a health-care bill that guts the Affordable Care Act. They can’t force Mitch McConnell to release the legislation, or hold hearings on it, or unilaterally block President Trump’s nominees in retaliation.

But Democrats can grind the Senate to a virtual halt, and that’s what they plan to do beginning Monday afternoon as they protest the GOP secretive push to revamp the nation’s health-care system.

Under the direction of Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Democrats will begin using parliamentary tactics to disrupt the ordinary business of the Senate, including blocking requests for unanimous consent to consider nominees and legislation and preventing committees from holding hearings that last longer than two hours. In the evening, Democratic senators will hold the floor to deliver speeches assailing Republicans for writing and debating their health-care bill behind closed doors.

“These are merely the first steps we’re prepared to take in order to shine a light on this shameful Trumpcare bill and reveal to the public the GOP’s true intentions: to give the uber-wealthy a tax break while making middle class Americans pay more for less health care coverage,” Schumer said in a statement. “If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate.”

The escalation comes in response to pressure from progressive activists, who have grown increasingly worried that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would succeed in passing a quick-strike bill while the nation’s attention is focused on the Russia investigation dogging the Trump White House. McConnell has kept drafts of the GOP’s health-care bill under wraps in the hopes of avoiding the public backlash that plagued, and nearly scuttled, an Obamacare repeal measure in the House. Senate Republicans want to vote on …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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