Democrats on Monday intensified their resistance to the un-American and anti-democratic efforts of tyrannical Tea-Publicans to destroy America’s health care system just to give huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.
Evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell is sticking to his artificial July 4th congressional break deadline of June 30 to hold a vote in the Senate. There is currently no final bill that is in writing. In order to have enough time to get the requisite Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the bill ahead of McConnell’s June 30 deadline, a final bill would have to be sent to the CBO by this Friday.
There will be no committee hearings, no public input from stakeholders, no Democratic amendments allowed to be offered, and only limited debate for this bill created in secret by a Star Chamber of 13 old white Tea-Publican men.
This secret bill will be released only hours before a vote. Senators will not have time to read the bill and to to digest it. This is not the American democratic legislative process. This is authoritarian Tea-Publican tyranny writ large, all in service to giving huge tax cuts to their Plutocratic masters.
On Monday, Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill:
Senate Democrats are stepping up their attacks on the GOP’s push to repeal and replace ObamaCare as the legislative battle enters a critical two-week stretch.
Democrats can’t block a healthcare bill on their own, but are threatening to shut down the Senate in retaliation for Republicans negotiating their legislation in a string of closed-door GOP-only meetings.
The move, they hope, will put Republicans on the defense as they look to force a vote as soon as next week, when lawmakers will leave for the July 4th recess.
“This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said from the Senate floor. “If the Republicans won’t debate their healthcare in the open for the American people to see, they shouldn’t expect business as usual.”
A senior Senate Democratic aide said senators will begin objecting to routine unanimous consent requests, with a narrow exception for non-controversial “honorary resolutions.”
If Democrats stick to their tactics it will allow them to cut-short committee hearings and block meetings after the Senate has been in session for two hours.
They’ll also use the Senate’s procedural rulebook to try to derail the bill — moves that are unlikely to succeed given the Republican majority — and draw comparisons between the GOP process and the months of public debate over the Affordable Care Act.
An aide declined to say when Democrats would announce any next potential steps. But Schumer signaled that Democrats could further escalate their fight, saying the moves announced on Monday are “merely the first steps we’re prepared to take.”
“Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple,” he said.
Schumer’s comments are being echoed across the Democratic caucus.
On Monday evening, Democrats held a talk-a-thon against “Trumpcare” and against the deeply undemocratic process Mitch McConnell is following to ram it through the Senate. “From the Senate floor, on Facebook, and on Twitter with the hashtag #HoldTheFloor, Democratic senators continue to rally the grassroots to fight this bill.”
“This is the longest discussion you’re likely to see on Trumpcare from the Senate, and it’s being conducted by Democrats who have been utterly shut out of the process of crafting this bill.”
Republicans have a narrow path to passing a healthcare bill. They have 52 seats, meaning they can only lose two GOP senators and still let Vice President Pence to break a tie.
McConnell hasn’t publicly committed to the July 4th deadline for voting on a bill, but GOP senators want to wrap up their work on healthcare—which is months behind schedule—so they can move onto other priorities.
No Democrat is expected to support repeal, but Schumer sent McConnell a letter late last week requesting an all-Senate meeting. Democrats sent a follow-up letter on Monday, listing dozens of locations that Republicans could hold a hearing if they wanted to.
Democrats face intense pressure from liberal groups to shut down the Senate floor and block committees from meeting to slow down the GOP. Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group, urged its members to ask Democratic senators to “resist through procedure.”
“[Senate Democrats] also need to draw more attention by accepting and introducing thousands of amendments during vote-a-rama. Demand it,” Indivisible said on Twitter.
The vote-a-rama is an hours-long session in which any member can demand a vote on an amendment. Under Senate rules, Republicans have to hold the marathon session before they can take a final vote on an ObamaCare repeal bill.
“Republicans can try and ram through their health care bill in secret, but voters will know exactly who to blame when their costs spike and their coverage is cut,” said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spokesman David Bergstein.
Democratic efforts to throw sand into the gears of this Tea-Publican tyranny are critical because of upcoming deadlines. GOP considers canceling August recess to salvage agenda:
Alarmed by the stalemate on healthcare reform, lack of progress on tax reform and appropriations bills that are far behind schedule, Republican lawmakers across Congress are increasingly willing to consider canceling the month-long August recess.
Senate Republican negotiators reported that they are not close to a deal on healthcare reform and that scheduling a vote by July 4, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pushed, is likely unrealistic.
That impasse has held up work on a budget resolution, which is necessary to move tax reform and the annual appropriations bills.
Once Republicans vote on a budget resolution for 2018, it will wipe out the special vehicle they plan to use to pass healthcare reform with a simple majority vote — a vehicle that was set up by the budget resolution for 2017.
Lawmakers calculate there are only 45 legislative days until the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30.
With the party still sharply divided on healthcare and tax reform, it looks increasingly possible that Republican lawmakers will leave town in July for a monthlong break without any major accomplishments under their belts.
“I think there’s a majority that probably supports being here,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), referring to the possibility of canceling or cutting short the August recess.
He said GOP lawmakers need to make progress on the budget and spending bills to avoid a government shutdown scenario in September, as well as progressing on tax reform.
“I don’t want to wait until the last week to be forced into a [continuing resolution]. That’s ridiculous,” he said of the likelihood Congress will have to pass a short-term continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) has pushed Senate Republican leaders for the past two weeks to cancel the August recess.
“I think absolutely we should truncate or cancel recess. We have a huge agenda. I think we can get a lot of it done, but what we don’t have is time,” said Sullivan. “We can make more time.”
There is virtually no chance that this is going to happen. In 2004, Congress held hearings in August in response to the release of the 9/11 Commission Report. And that was a rarity.
“Are they going to get all 52 Senate Republicans to do this?” a senate aide asked. “Perdue and Sullivan talking is fine, but every time members say they need to stay and work over a recess there’s usually a [congressional delegation] trip somewhere” that their colleagues have planned.
Perdue acknowledged there are probably a solid 15 Republican colleagues who would be strongly opposed to canceling the August recess.
But a sense of growing panic about the dwindling legislative calendar is starting to take hold in the Republican conferences in both the Senate and House.
Keep this date of September 30, the end of the 2017 fiscal year in mind. This is the critical deadline when all of this will come to a head and the shit is going hit the fan. We may be headed for an economic trainwreck.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that the White House has not yet figured out a strategy for raising the federal debt limit, another big item sitting on the agenda.
On this score, White House without a plan to address debt ceiling:
A failure by Congress to raise the debt ceiling could send dangerous shockwaves through the global economy. The federal government could be at risk of defaulting on obligations such as interest payments on bonds as well as temporarily halting benefit programs.
The White House budget director suggested in an interview Thursday with reporters that neither the Trump administration nor Capitol Hill lawmakers have set their terms for an agreement.
“It’s fair to say we haven’t settled on a final way to address the debt ceiling any more than the Hill has,” Mulvaney said.
Under the current borrowing restrictions, the government has already been taking extraordinary measures and will likely be unable to pay its bills at some point in September. But Congress still has a recess scheduled in August that could create time pressures. Private analysts say the debt ceiling deadline could be extended into October.
Mulvaney said he would like to see the debt ceiling raised in July.
But Trump administration officials still have yet to resolve internal differences on the best strategy to increase the legal cap on government debt, which already exceeds $19.8 trillion.
Mulvaney suggested he would like to have any increase in the borrowing authority be attached to other spending changes, a move that could attract Republican support but alienate Senate Democrats.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has indicated he would like a “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling, so it would not have to be tied to any spending changes, but Capitol Hill conservatives are resisting the idea.
“Secretary Mnuchin believes it needs to be clean. I think the vast majority of the Republican conferences would not agree,” said Rep. Mark Meadows R-N.C., chairman of the Freedom Caucus, a group of strongly conservative House Republicans.
Mulvaney said Mnuchin would ultimately be in charge of handling the debt ceiling push “once we do settle on our formal policy, if we do.”
Failure to pass spending bills could cause a government shutdown and cause non-essential government agencies to close their doors. Trump suggested on Twitter last month that he might welcome a shutdown to help shake up the government.
Mnuchin told the Senate Budget Committee this week that “at times there could be a good shutdown,” though he cautioned it’s not the administration’s “primary objective.”
With action on the budget front otherwise stalled, the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved the first of 12 spending bills, an $89 billion measure that contains generous increases for veterans’ programs and Pentagon construction projects.
A 2011 standoff between Republicans and the Obama administration over the debt ceiling led to tighter controls on spending. That standoff was not resolved until the 11th hour and prompted Standard & Poor’s to impose the first-ever downgrade to the country’s credit rating.
From now until July 4th at least, you need to concentrate all of your efforts on stopping this GOP healthcare tax cut bill. Call your senators every day, picket their offices, march in the streets if you must. Write your letters to the editor and do not allow your local media, which prefers celebrity news and the latest trending cat video on Youtube over real news, to ignore this travesty occuring in Washington.