Democrats protest Senate Republican healthcare secrecy

Analysts said 23 million more Americans would be without health care under the House bill. Health-care bill opponents want to hammer Republicans at home during the break in an effort to kill the proposal later in the month.

The Republican effort to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has led to a standoff in the Senate. Senate Democrats claim that they've already passed a budget but House Democrats claim that the Republican spend plan is holding them back. Members of the Democratic base have expressed concern that Republicans are moving forward with their health care bill while attention has been focused elsewhere - namely on the Russian Federation investigations.

According to a senior Senate Democratic aide, there might be some exceptions for honorary resolutions, but the Democrats seem intent on slowing down the bulk of business.

Several Democrats moved for the healthcare legislation to be referred to Senate committees for hearings, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused. Democratic senators will also make floor speeches late Monday on the subject.

But Rubio said he believes the process could take longer and urged the Senate to slow down.

McConnell's attempt to craft an Obamacare replacement behind closed doors has muted public focus on the coming debate, which groups say could help him get enough Republican support to pass the measure. They called for open committee hearings and more time to consider the bill before a Senate vote, which Republicans say could come in the next two weeks, although a draft bill has yet to emerge publicly.

"There's only one reason why Republicans are doing this: They're ashamed of their bill", said Schumer on Monday.

Rep. Tom Cole said if the Senate passed a healthcare reform bill, the chances that lawmakers would stay through the recess would increase.

Democrats are weighing a strategy to get more public attention on the debate in the next two weeks, said Matt House, spokesman for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY, but he declined to discuss details.

"We've been debating Obamacare's failures and what to do about them for so many years now", McConnell said Monday on the Senate floor.

Whether it's the process used by Republicans to ram their disastrous Obamacare repeal through Congress or the way they have undercut the current health care system, Democrats are right to hold their feet to the fire.

Indeed, Republicans have continued to butt up against an impossible task: they must either remove millions from their healthcare, or they must admit that preexisting conditions is a vital, unremovable part of American healthcare in 2017.

  • Larry Hoffman