Health-bill se­crecy draws flak

All sides ex­as­per­ated

New York Post - - NEWS - By GABRIELLA MORRONGIELLO

With the clock wind­ing down be­fore Congress re­cesses for the July 4 hol­i­day, Se­nate Repub­li­can lead­ers are un­der fire from all sides for block­ing pub­lic de­bate on their health-care bill to over­haul Oba­maCare be­fore putting it up for a vote.

Three GOP aides said Mon­day their of­fices have yet to see a draft of the bill, which was sent to the non­par­ti­san Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice for re­view last week.

“We’ve given up on try­ing to get info out of [lead­er­ship],” an ex­as­per­ated Se­nate staffer told The Post.

White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer also ad­mit­ted Mon­day that he was un­sure whether Pres­i­dent Trump, who re­cently de­scribed the House-passed health­care bill as “mean,” has seen a copy of the Se­nate’s ver­sion.

“That’s a good ques­tion,” Spicer told re­porters.

The CBO’s anal­y­sis is ex­pected on June 26 and the Web site Ax­ios re­ported Mon­day that Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell (R-Ky.) is de­ter­mined to sched­ule a vote on the bill by the end of next week.

In­ter­nal dis­cord over the sub­stance of health-care re­form has roiled Repub­li­can ef­forts to re­peal and re­place Oba­maCare be­fore the Se­nate leaves for another re­cess from July 31 to Sept. 4.

Changes to Med­i­caid spend­ing and the House bill’s tax-credit struc­ture have led to in­tense dis­agree­ments be­tween con­ser­va­tive and mod­er­ate sen­a­tors, many of whom have chided their party’s lead­er­ship for de­vis­ing the leg­is­la­tion in se­crecy.

“The Se­nate is not a place where you can just cook up some­thing be­hind closed doors and rush it for a vote on the floor,” Sen. Marco Ru­bio (R-Fla.) told CBS Sun­day.

Democrats cre­ated an even big­ger headache for their GOP col­leagues when they threat­ened to halt busi­ness in the up­per cham­ber by hold­ing a talk-a-thon.

Demo­cratic sen­a­tors de­liv­ered speech af­ter speech Mon­day night to draw at­ten­tion to the GOP’s ef­fort to dis­man­tle Oba­maCare.

Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said GOP law­mak­ers seek­ing re-elec­tion next year “will reap the whirl­wind” once vot­ers learn about the leg­is­la­tion.

It’s part of an push to slow down the Se­nate and en­sure that McCon­nell al­lows mem­bers enough time to re­view the bill.

The largely sym­bolic ef­fort was likely to have lit­tle or no im­pact.

Yet Democrats were hop­ing it would show ac­tivists that they are ag­gres­sively try­ing to thwart the leg­is­la­tion.

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