Naples Daily News by Ledyard King
June 20, 2017
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is joining other Democrats raising a stink about a clutch of Senate Republicans meeting behind closed doors to craft a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, saying a bill being negotiated in “the dead of night” won’t succeed.
“If you’re going to fix the health care system, you’re going to have to do it together in a bipartisan way, building consensus,” he said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “And that’s what I urge the Senate to do instead of what we’re seeing happen behind closed doors.”
Republicans leveled similar criticisms several years ago when Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” without a single Republican vote.
However, Democrats say they held many more hearings and gave opponents plenty of time to offer changes than Republican leaders appear willing to grant this time.
Nelson is part of a Democratic effort to stall Senate business over what they call the GOP’s “secret” health care bill, called the American Health Care Act.
They invoked a rule Tuesday that would force the postponement of several Senate committee hearings as they continued to blast Republicans for a lack of transparency. That follows their pledge Monday to use another procedural rule to slow-walk Senate floor business.
One of those meetings is a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing Wednesday on commercial space opportunities. The hearing is to feature Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana.
“As we’ve made clear to our Republican colleagues, if they continue to insist on ramming through a secret health care bill without any public input or debate, they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, said in a statement. “Before passing a massive bill that will affect the lives of every single American, there ought to be a rigorous and robust debate in committees and a full debate on the floor.” [READ MORE]