WASHINGTON — In a late night protest, Senate Democrats decried efforts by top Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act behind closed doors, pledging to disrupt proceedings in the chamber over the matter.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said that Democrats will break with normal procedure and object to routine movements and bills in an effort to slow down Senate business unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., agrees to allow debate on the controversial health care bill.
“This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves [Democrats] with little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well,” Schumer said.
Republican senators have been working for weeks to come to an agreement on their own version of the American Health Care Act, which was passed by the House last month. Their efforts have been a closely held secret among the Republican leadership and a working group of 13 senators.
As a result, many key stakeholders, including some other GOP senators and members of President Trump’s administration, say they don’t know what is in the bill. Leadership has been pushing for a vote before the July 4 recess.
McConnell said Monday evening that there would be a chance for the public to review the bill and for Democrats to offer amendments.
“I think there will be ample opportunity to read and amend the bill,” McConnell said in a spirited back-and-forth with Schumer.
“Will it be more than 10 hours?” Schumer shot back.
McConnell refused to say.
Democrats charged that Republicans were trying to hide a bill that would harm millions of Americans.
“Why are only a select group of Americans able to have a voice inside that room?” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a fiery floor speech. “My constituents are Americans just like the constituents in Republican states are Americans. They deserve to know what’s about to happen to them. You’re breaking the Senate. And it won’t get put back…