Senator Mike Lee of Utah is one of the Republicans creating the new Senate version of GOPDon’tCare that will replace Obamacare, but guess what? He hasn’t seen it; yup, he’s on the team but has yet to see the bill that is supposed to be released, maybe, tomorrow, and then voted on quickly before the Senate gets yet another vacation.
It appears that Mitch McTurtle McConnell is having his staff ... not Senators ... write the bill in secret because his granny panties are in a wad that the Democrats wrote Obamacare in secret.
Okay ... except; it wasn’t one Democrat writing that healthcare proposal, and the Democrats gave the Republicans more than a lunch hour to read it. Majority Leader McTurtle will release a "discussion draft" this week that will go to the Senate floor for a vote "likely next week."
But even Republican Mike Lee—again, a member of the team charged with writing the proposal—says a week or so to examine the bill isn’t enough time, and has criticized the way McTurtle’s secrecy.
"Even though we thought we were going to be in charge of writing a bill within this working group, it’s not being written by us. It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate. So if you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration. I share it wholeheartedly.”
And Mike Lee isn’t the only one in the party annoyed by the “process” ...
“I’m very eager to see the language, I don’t think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill, but we’ll see when it comes out.”—Maine Senator Susan Collins
Utah Senator Orrin Hatch—the Senate Finance Chairman—says even he doesn’t know what’s in the bill.
And Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key moderate holdout, said McTurtle best not hope buy off her vote with an Alaska-specific solution:
"This is like a really big deal to get this right for the country. Let’s just say that they do something that’s so Alaska-specific just to quote, ‘get me.’ Then you have a nationwide system that doesn’t work. That then comes crashing down and Alaska’s not able to kind of keep it together on its own."
Even Kentucky Senator Rand Paul—who hates Obamacare because it’s called Obamacare—says the bill should have been debated "in the open" and that, by using a one-party approach, the bill is already set up to fail.
But, it was Arizona Senator John ‘Get Off’a My Lawn’ McCain, who, when asked if he’d seen the bill, gave the very best response:
"No, nor have I met any American that has. I’m sure the Russians have been able to hack in and gotten most of it."
For his part, McTurtle, is playing coy; when he was asked how the Senate measure would differ from the House version, he replied:
"I wouldn’t want to compare it to the House bill. It’ll be different, take a different approach."
See, even he doesn’t know; but he does know, or at least that that "everyone will have adequate time to take a look at it" even though, again, the measure is being negotiated in private and won’t go through any committee hearings.
How’s that for transparency?
Need more? Since Republicans control the Senate, 52-48, they would need 60 votes to keep Democrats from blocking the measure, but they plan to use an expedited procedure to pass this unseen bill with as few as 50 votes, plus a tie-breaker from Vice President Mike Pence.
This week the Democrats started putting up “procedural roadblocks” to slow down routine Senate business to keep this unseen bill from getting a vote.
But if GOPDon’tCare is put on the floor the Democrats will propose quite a few amendments to try to prevent it from passing in the hopes that Republicans, heading home for their latest recess, will have to face their constituents.
And it isn’t that the Democrats don’t want healthcare; nor do they wish to keep all of Obamacare. They would simply like to see the bill, and want We The People to know if the Senate version will screw as many people as the House version, and make as many millionaires richer.
The House measure would cut Medicaid by $834 billion over a decade, repeal $664 billion of Obamacare’s tax increases on the wealthy and the health-care industry, and end requirements that individuals get health insurance and that most employers provide it. It would replace Obamacare subsidies with tax credits based primarily on age, and let states get waivers from some of the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the House bill would take away healthcare from 23 million Americans.
And Mitch McTurtle wants to put forth a bill that no one has seen?