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Senate Democrats Plan To Stall GOP Health Care Bill

| by Robert Fowler
The Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New YorkThe Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York

Senate Democrats have announced that they will deploy a series of tactics to grind their chamber to a halt in order to draw media attention to the GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

On June 19, Democratic lawmakers disclosed that they would begin working to throw a wrench in Senate procedures to protest the GOP health care bill, which has been drafted in secret.

A Senate aide disclosed that Democrats would begin objecting to unanimous-consent requests to slow down proceedings for requests and resolutions, request that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) previously passed in the House be brought to committee, and deliver speeches blasting the GOP health care proposal late every evening, Business Insider reports.

The aide added that Democrats would also initiate parliamentary procedures "to highlight the difference between the open process used to pass the Affordable Care Act and the process Republicans are pursuing now."

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The Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, issued a statement confirming his party's strategy going forward.

"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.

The Senate Minority Leader added: "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 Republican National Committee blasted the Democrats' plan as a "pure partisan game aimed at placating the far-left."

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On June 18, sources close to the Senate Majority Leader, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, told Axios that he planned to hold a Senate vote on the GOP health care bill before July 4. The legislation has yet to receive a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score and has remained mysterious to the majority of the chamber.

"The average Republican doesn't even know what's in that legislation," Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told CBS News on June 18. "My understanding is that it will be brought forth just immediately before we have to vote on it. This is completely unacceptable."

Professor Ross Baker of Rutgers University deemed the GOP process of drafting the health care bill in closed meetings and keeping its details a secret from colleagues unprecedented.

"I can't think of another piece of legislation of this scope and magnitude that affects so many people that has been drawn up behind such a dense veil of secrecy," Baker told the Los Angeles Times.

GOP lawmakers hold 52 seats in the Senate with Vice President Mike Pence waiting in the wings as a potential tie-breaking vote. In order to derail the GOP health care bill, critics would have to pressure three GOP senators to vote against the legislation.

Sources: AxiosBusiness Insider, CBS News, Los Angeles Times / Photo credit: Senate Democrats/Flickr

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