Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is supporting Democrats who are calling for the Senate to be shut down to stop the Republicans from keeping their health care bill a secret.
DICKERSON: Let me move here now to health care. You mentioned some of the policy differences. But there is a procedural debate going on about how this is being handled in the Senate. Some Democrats are suggesting because the- because you don’t know what’s in the bill and the bill’s being worked on in secret to just stop all Senate business, to just shut the place down as a way to kind of force play. Are you onboard with that?
SANDERS: John, here is the situation. We know the legislation that passed the House. It was the worst piece of legislation frankly against working class people that I can remember in my political life in the Congress. Throwing 23 million people off of health insurance is beyond belief. Now, in the Senate what you have is you have I believe it is 10 Republicans working behind closed doors to address 1/6th of the American economy. That’s what health care is. Republicans. The average Republican doesn’t even know what’s in that legislation. My understanding is that it will be brought forth just immediately before we have to vote on it. This is completely unacceptable. I mean, nobody can defend a process which will impact tens of millions of Americans, and nobody even knows what’s in the legislation. And, John, the important point here is the reason they don’t want to bring it public is that it is a disastrous bill. I suspect similar to what passed in the House. Who is going to defend cutting Medicaid by $800 billion at the same time as you give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent? So they want to keep it secret. They don’t want the media involved. They don’t want members of Congress involved. And in the last minute, they present it. They push it through. And that is 1/6th of the American economy and millions of people thrown off of health insurance. That is unacceptable. I believe Democrats should do everything they can to oppose that legislation in any way that we can.
The reason why Democrats should shut the Senate down is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote on the bill before the Senate’s Fourth of July recess. There is no way that McConnell will make his deadline if Democrats shut down the Senate. The Senate should not be open for business until the bill is made public and an open hearing is held on the legislation.
Democracy doesn’t work in secret, and Democrats should shut down the Senate until Republicans are ready to govern democratically.