Senate Democrats planning a sit-in ‘talk-a-thon’ to force discussion on healthcare bill
Democrats plan to seize the Senate floor Monday evening by sitting in their seats and staging a debate addressing the healthcare bill that a select group of Senate Republicans are currently drafting in invisible ink in their secret clubhouse. The Dems hope to force discussion on the proposed legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, and force the House version of the bill into Senate committee review, by delaying non-healthcare-related Senate actions scheduled for Tuesday and beyond.
Here’s how Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer explained the tactic, which is kicking off with what NBC is referring to as a “talk-a-thon.” Per Politico:
“Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple … 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. 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.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants the Senate to vote on a bill before the July 4 recess, but no text has been released to senators or the public. Senior GOP aides have said the party plans to keep the legislation secret until the vote so that Senate Republicans can approve it blindly like their House colleagues.
Dems apparently think they can stop the process with procedural obstruction. In addition to the sit-in, Senate Democrats are planning to object to all requests to proceed on Senate business unrelated to healthcare, starting Monday. Politico reports the party intends to block committee hearings scheduled for Tuesday.
The parliamentary chess is just the latest obstacle facing the Republican attempt to save insurance providers from the struggle of having to adequately cover poor and sick people and respect reproductive rights. Most recently, Donald Trump told a group of Republicans that the House bill, whose passing President Nincompoop celebrated at the White House Rose Garden, was “mean” and a “son of a bitch.”
Maybe he’ll join the talk-a-thon.