Democratic Senator Calls Out GOP For Fast-Tracking Health Care Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked a rule that will allow the Senate's version of the American Health Care Act to bypass committee.
Posted at 10:24 PM, Jun 09, 2017

"I mean on the proposal that you're planning to bring to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Will there be a hearing?" Sen. Claire McCaskill asked Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch. 

"Well, I don't know if there's going to be another hearing, but we've invited you to participate and give your ideas," Hatch replied.

"No, that's not true, Mr. Chairman," McCaskill said. 

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill wants a hearing on the Republicans' health care proposal. But she likely won't get one. 

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a step toward fast-tracking consideration of the Senate's version of the American Health Care Act.  

McConnell doesn't have much time to act. Regardless of the final language of the bill, some Republican senators are expected to vote against it

And while Republicans are using a process that allows them to pass the legislation with just 51 votes, the window closes at the end of September. Senators are on recess for the entirety of August.

By invoking a provision of Senate Rule XIV, McConnell was able to put the bill directly on the Senate calendar, rather than sending it to committee where it could be held up by hearings.

Right now, Senate Republicans are still working on their version of the health care bill. With McConnell's move, the bill would be ready for consideration on the Senate floor as soon as the group of Senators working on its language come to an agreement and the bill has received a score from the Congressional Budget Office.

That move apparently compelled McCaskill to bring it up during a Senate finance committee hearing Thursday.

"We have no idea what's being proposed. There's a group of guys in a backroom somewhere that are making these decisions. There were no hearings in the House," McCaskill said.

She argued that even though the vote for the Affordable Care Act was partisan, the bill had multiple hearings

"Even though the vote ended up being partisan — just as yours will be — the amendment process wasn't. Both of you had amendments that were put into that bill as did other members of this committee. I want that opportunity. Give me that opportunity. Give me an opportunity to work with you," McCaskill said.