Demand Full Transparency on the Senate AHCA Bill
The Affordable Care Act, and the healthcare of millions of Americans is under a massive and urgent threat by Republicans. On Wednesday, June 7th, Speaker Mitch McConnell used Rule 14 to fast-track the AHCA, the House healthcare bill that passed last month designed to deprive 23 million people of healthcare in order to provide tax breaks to corporations and the rich. Rule 14 will allow the bill to go straight to a Senate floor vote (where it can pass with a mere 51 votes since the bill is being passed using reconciliation) without any requirement for committee debate or discussion. The Senate bill was developed in secret by 13 Republican Senators (all men), leaving not only Democrats but also the majority of Republicans in the dark about the bill's true content. The mysterious bill, which is rumored to contain even deeper Medicaid cuts than the House version, has been submitted to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), who is expected to issue a public score around June 27th. McConnell is expected to immediately call for a vote on the bill on the Senate floor (to reach his publicly stated goal of passing the bill before the July 4th recess), giving Senate Democrats and constituents days or even hours to understand the implications of a new healthcare plan that will affect one-sixth of the national economy and their own personal well-being. McConnell has refused to commit to allowing more than 10 hours of debate on the bill. Senate Democrats have a clear option to delay this undemocratic vote--a filibuster-by-amendment. Under reconciliation rules, Democrats can introduce unlimited amendments to the bill, meaning Democrats can prepare a flood of amendments to indefinitely delay an AHCA vote. While this tactic will not work forever, it will turn up the heat on Senate Republicans for trying to ram a bad bill through without transparency or integrity; in the end, Healthcare policy affects every single American, and it is unacceptable that this plan has not been transparent and available for sufficient Senate debate and public review. If Republicans are not willing to commit to a transparent legislative process, Democrats must do everything they can to obstruct a final vote on the AHCA, and Republicans must refuse to vote for the American Health Care Act. "