June 13, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 100 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 100
(Senate - June 13, 2017)
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[Pages S3415-S3416] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, finally on healthcare, there are only 11 calendar days of Senate business left before the July 4th recess, and yet Republicans are looking to vote on a final healthcare bill before the deadline, and not a soul outside the Republican caucus has seen the bill. I am not sure that every Member of the Republican caucus inside has seen it. To everyone in America, this should be a red alert. This should be a red alert for doctors, hospital administrators, and patient groups, groups that represent older Americans, groups that fight for children's healthcare, groups that fight for better treatment for substance abuse and mental health. This should be a red alert for working families across this country whose lives depend on affordable healthcare and yet have no earthly idea what their representatives in Congress might pass in just 2 short weeks. They might never know. The Republicans have not scheduled a single committee hearing--not one--not a single committee hearing on a bill that would reorganize one-sixth of the American economy, touch the lives of millions of Americans--a life-and-death issue for some--not a single committee hearing or public debate on a bill that would potentially change drastically the way Medicaid is funded, the way women are treated in our healthcare system, the way we treat older Americans and those with preexisting conditions. Why on Earth haven't we had a single committee hearing on a bill of this magnitude? Why on Earth is this bill being hidden from public view? There is only one reason. The Republican majority is afraid of the American people learning what is in their healthcare bill. They don't want the American people to know how much they cut and destroy Medicaid or how fat of a tax break they give to the wealthiest few because they know the backlash would be severe. In short, by their actions, it seems our Republican colleagues are ashamed of this bill, and they know their chances of passing the Republican healthcare bill would plummet if they release a bill that looks anything like the House healthcare bill, which only a tiny sliver of Americans support--17 percent in the last poll. The majority of Republicans and the majority of Trump voters are opposed to TrumpCare. So our Republican colleagues have made a calculation, which is ultimately self-defeating, to keep their healthcare bill hidden from view under lock and key until the last possible moment. Maybe this is the only strategy to pass a bill as unpopular as this [[Page S3416]] bill is going to be. Maybe it will shield their bill from criticism in the short term, but make no mistake, there will be a reckoning if this bill is passed. Passing a bill of this scale, with so many consequences for the American people, without telling them what is in it, without telling them how they would fare, the political retribution will be swift. It will be a catastrophe for the Republican Party. I am afraid, worse, this bill will be a catastrophe for the American people. I yield the floor. ____________________