Health-bill secrecy draws flak
All sides exasperated
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.