Senate Republicans have no direction or purpose in their rush to pass a bill to kill Obamacare and destroy affordable healthcare access. They don’t seem focused on an ideological approach, but rather just getting something done. Jamming something through in the dark before the Trump Titanic sinks and they’re all under water.
Senate Republicans can’t explain what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.
“Do I think that’s the best way to go? No, I’m a process person,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said. She also hasn’t seen the bill yet, she said, and mostly hears details about it from reporters who surround her in the corridors. “Yeah, I got a problem with it,” she said of the process. “If I’m not going to see a bill before we have a vote on it, that’s just not a good way to handle something that is as significant and important as health care.” … But has she heard whether her concerns will be addressed in the legislation? “I don’t know because I have no idea if we even have a bill!” she said. [KTOO Public Media, 6/14/17]
Murkowski worries about the failure of process, “We’re setting ourselves up for the same criticism we waged against our colleagues on the other side.” [Vox, 6/15/17]
Murkowski’s point has been taken up by the media who likes to compare Democratic complaints about the current GOP process to the ACA process under Democrats, but this is actually absurd. Here’s a timeline for the ACA process. “July 2009: House Democrats unveil their 1,000-page plan for overhauling the health care system… March 21, 2010: the Senate’s version of the health care plan is OK’d by the House in a 219-212 vote.”
Not exactly anything like a bill no one has even read, including the party that wrote the bill. Hundreds of Republican amendments were adopted in the ACA, although as PolitiFact points out, they were often technical in nature. But Republicans had a chance to read the bill and add amendments, which is not happening right now.
“Would I have preferred a more open process? The answer is yes,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on NBC News, 6/15/17
“I think it’s being written, uh, by someone somewhere but I’m not aware of who or where,” Sen. Rand Paul, said on NBC News. “If you get a copy of it, will you send me a copy?” [NBC News, 6/15/17]
“Everybody ought to be at the table,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS). “… I want the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings, bring the experts who know about health care from across the country, bring citizens to tell us their stories. Then I want every senator, all 100 of us, to have the chance to offer amendments, make suggestions, take votes.” [Kansas City Star, 5/5/17]
Yeah, Sen. Moran is upset it’s being crafted in the dark, but he will still vote on it even without hearings. Huh?!
“I want to see what the health care bill is. I wish it was being addressed in a way different than it is, but let’s see what the outcome is,” Sen. Moran said. [Kansas City Star, 6/12/17]
“Well I’d like to see it before I vote on it,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said when asked how long the public should get to review the bill. “You can start with me not knowing what’s in it, and time for people to, you know, look at it and see what’s in it.” “I hope they start sharing with members,” he added. [TPM, 6/13/17]
“I’ve said from Day 1, and I’ll say it again,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee. “The process is better if you do it in public, and that people get buy-in along the way and understand what’s going on. Obviously, that’s not the route that is being taken.” [NY Times, 6/15/17]
“I have in the past said `Let’s repeal Obamacare.’ I can’t say that in certain settings I won’t say that,’” Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) said about his own language. “What I typically say is, `We need to reform our nation’s health care law.’ Because I do recognize that in order to enact the bold changes, and durable changes that we need to make to actually bend the health care delivery cost curve downward, it’s going to take 60 votes in the Senate. We don’t have enough votes. It’s just simple math.”[Indianapolis Star, 6/15/17]
When asked by a reporter what’s in Senate health bill, saying public doesn’t know, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said “Well join the crowd. I’m in the same category.”
Historian Bruce Bartlett who was a domestic policy adviser to Reagan and a Treasury official under George H. W. Bush noted:
Laws that are crafted in secret are a hallmark of fascist states. Democracy = transparency.
— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) June 16, 2017
Republicans can’t explain what they’re doing because there is no explanation other than the truth. They’re crafting a bill in secret, continuing on in the Republican push toward behaving like fascists instead of like public servants in a democracy.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.