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Democrats to slow-walk Senate business over health care bill


WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats will begin slow-walking legislation and nominees on Monday as part of their opposition to Republican attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats will begin objecting to all requests for “unanimous consent” to set aside rules and expedite proceedings, according to a Senate Democratic aide who was not authorized to speak on the record. The procedural move is a tactic the minority party can use to draw out the process for days, forcing Republicans to jump through procedural hurdles to get anything done.

The move coincides with a new #AmericaSpeaksOut campaign Senate Democrats launched Monday urging Americans to “speak out against Trumpcare and share their stories.” They say Senate Republicans are crafting their new version of “Trumpcare” in secret and they refuse to make the bill public, hold hearings or solicit bipartisan support.

The House passed its Obamacare repeal bill in May, but Senate Republicans have been drafting their own bill behind closed doors.

In a letter, Democrats provided Senate Republican leaders with a list of all 31 potential Senate rooms “to assist” Republicans in scheduling a hearing.

“Every single American will be affected by this and no one will have had an opportunity to read it and to understand it,” wrote Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democratic leaders.

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They wrote that Democrats, by comparison, held about 100 hearings and meetings, accepted more than 150 amendments sponsored or cosponsored by GOP senators and spent 25 days in floor debate during the drafting of the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans blame Democrats for refusing to negotiate on a health care bill.

“Democrats for MONTHS have stated they have no interest in working with Republicans on fixing Obamacare,” Michael Reed, the Republican National Committee’s research director and deputy communications director, wrote in a statement. “Now, Democrat efforts to feign outrage over health care negotiations should be seen for what it is — a pure partisan game aimed at placating the far-left.”

The House-passed health care bill, called the American Health Care Act, would lead to 23 million fewer people having health insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

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