Senate Democrats Hosted 'Talkathon' to Protest AHCA

Posted: Jun 20, 2017 2:15 PM

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democratic senators spoke out against the Republican Senate privately revising the American Health Care Act - an Obamacare replacement plan that has been approved by the House. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said to CNN, "I believe Democrats should do everything they can to oppose that legislation in any way that we can." 

In the same vein, Sen. Chuck Schumer requested an all-Senate meeting that would address the legislation, and they introduced legislation blocking the bill from being passed "under reconciliation" without a public hearing.  

The Democratic senate had a talkathon till late into Monday night, and early this morning, Tuesday, to protest the secrecy of the bill's drafting and to slow down the process of its passing through the Senate. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has organized the speeches.

Schumer, during his opening speech said, “How many hearings has this Senate Finance Committee had on this bill? This unknown bill? None.” This is in contrast to the H.R. 3590, which took 25 days of consecutive session. "We still had the courage to have a debate on the floor—the courage of our convictions.”

Later he said, "I ask unanimous consent that no motion to proceed to calendar number 120, H.R. 1628, the American Healthcare Act, until the bill has been subject of a public hearing in the committee on finance."

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) defended the Republicans, saying that the democrats had not wanted anyone talking about the ACA when it was being drafted. He said,"This subject has been very partisan from the beginning," continuing that no Republican voted for the bill then, and no Democrat is planning on voting for the bill that replaces it. "Over the last seven years, Democrats have worked to prevent Congress from acting.” Now, he says, a reconciliation process would allow Congress to do so.  

Schumer previously said, “they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple.”  

In a Hill article, a "senior Senate Democratic aide" said the democrats are objecting to "all unanimous consent requests in the Senate."  

The measures the Democrats are taking, Schumer said, are the “first steps we’re prepared to take in order to shine a light on this shameful TrumpCare bill and reveal to the public the GOP’s true intentions: to give the uber-wealthy a tax break while making middle class Americans pay more for less healthcare coverage.”  

The speeches ended with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) shortly after midnight this morning saying that those benefitting from medicaid should continue to receive aid: "I hope that it would not be much of a debate that we should continue to help those families and those individuals."