Senate Republicans’ version of Trumpcare is being negotiated in secret, and Bernie Sanders is making sure we know it.
In a tweet posted on Monday evening, Senator Sanders (I-Vermont) tweeted to his 5.1 million followers that he had obtained a copy of scheduled hearings and markups on the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which has, as of this writing, not been released to the public.
“BREAKING: Senate Republicans just released the schedule of hearings, committee markups and public testimony for their health care bill,” Sanders tweeted, with a photo of a blank sheet of paper.
BREAKING: Senate Republicans just released the schedule of hearings, committee markups and public testimony for their health care bill. pic.twitter.com/iHtXyZqyMW
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 12, 2017
The tweet, while not actually showing the specifics of the Republican healthcare plan, makes the point that the 13 Senate Republicans tasked with drafting the bill have been doing so behind closed doors. When asked by Axios’ Caitlin Owens why no draft of the bill has been released for public view, a Republican staffer was quoted saying, “We’re not stupid.”
While no details have yet been leaked, it’s clear that the Senate will have a harder time getting the 51 votes needed (through the budget reconciliation process). The grassroots group Indivisible has identified ten Republican senators who are the most likely to be persuaded to vote against the bill, and released digital toolkits encouraging constituents to call each senator and remind them of the number of constituents in their states who stand to lose healthcare if Trumpcare becomes law.
With the senate aiming to have a vote on the Republican alternative to Obamacare prior to the July 4 recess, staffers for the 13 senators are scrambling to write a comprehensive bill by the end of the month. Prior to the vote, the bill will need to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which will likely take approximately two weeks.
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.