Democratic lawmakers have brought the Senate to a near-halt in an effort to protest the secret Republican healthcare bill.
The Democrats’ vow to “hold the floor all night,” as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) put it on Facebook, follows efforts by GOP leadership to craft legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) entirely behind closed doors.
To pull off their protest, the Democrats will stall every possible procedural vote. Although the tactic may not block a vote on the legislation, it will likely bring attention to Republicans’ plans to pass a bill that overhauls the American healthcare system—which makes up one-sixth of the economy—without anyone outside a small group having a chance to read the bill.
Senate Democrats fight Trumpcare
Tune in here to watch the Senate floor live as Democrats hold the floor all night to fight the Republicans’ bill that would repeal health care for 23 million Americans.Posted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Monday, June 19, 2017
Last month, House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), but the Senate immediately sidelined the bill in favor of its own legislation. The AHCA was roundly criticized for going too far in cutting crucial services that would largely affect poor and elderly Americans. President Donald Trump recently called the AHCA “mean” and asked senators to craft a bill that is “more generous.”
The Senate’s version of an Obamacare repeal was crafted by a 13-lawmaker panel made up of GOP leadership, committee chairmen, and conservative lawmakers—all of whom are men.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to bring the GOP healthcare bill up for a vote within the next two weeks before Congress convenes for its summer recess. The bill is not expected to undergo committee hearings nor will any lawmakers be likely able to offer amendments to the legislation.
The Republicans are instead expected to use a mechanism called budget reconciliation to usher the bill through, meaning they will only need 50 of the 52 Republican senators to vote for the bill for it to pass—and zero Democrats.