Democratic Slumber Party Part VI: Seizing The Senate Floor Over Obamacare Repeal

Austin Daniel
June 20, 2017

The Democrats plan to object to all requests for unanimous consent and in turn offer their own requests for unanimous consent in an attempt to force the bill before a committee, where debate can take place in public, the senior aide said.

Progressive groups, abortion-rights advocates and labor unions are urging Senate Democrats to slow work to a crawl to prevent Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from passing a health-care bill before a weeklong July 4 recess.

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to openly discuss the plans.

The difference between his private negotiations and how Republicans are trying to move their bill through the Senate is that the details of the entire Democratic bill and the language he was seeking were well-known to the public, Stupak said Monday.

"If Senators Heller, Flake and Cruz, along with Governor Scott, get their way, hard-working Americans will pay the price while insurance companies and the rich get a tax break", DSCC spokesman David Bergstein said. Other taxes, though, like the tax on medical equipment makers and the tax on health care insurers are likely to be jettisoned.

According to The Washington Post, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is planning to use the "mean" comment in ads against several House GOP lawmakers who could run for Senate next year in Pennsylvania.

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Republicans have signaled one of the main internal debates focuses on reforms to Medicaid, the health care program for individuals and families with limited resources that Obamacare expanded. The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in May that would be the first step in dismantling parts of the Affordable Care Act. The fact that the tax cuts are associated with health care for tens of millions of people is just a coincidence.

"They're ashamed of the bill", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to the New York Times Thursday.

The Obamacare replacement passed by the House last month includes deep cuts to Medicaid and other health expenditures. The members are deeply divided on key issues, the most intractable of which seems to be the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid coverage. "We understand this issue pretty well, and we're now working on coming up with a solution". The legislation passed 217 to 213 with 20 Republicans defecting, and every Democrat voting against.

Further complicating matters, different sectors within the industry have very different stakes in repealing Obamacare and replacing it with the GOP's plan.

Democrats are also telegraphing a series of parliamentary inquiries from their chamber desks to the presiding officer that they hope will show a contrast in the legislative process used to advance what became the 2010 health care overhaul law and the current process. But this is dwarfed by the health care costs imposed on everyone from one major high-risk activity which only a small percentage of American adults (about 15%) continue to engage in: smoking. But the next time they debate something behind closed doors, the process could normalize a bit more.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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