OPINION: The Senate Republicans Are Re-Writing the AHCA in Secret and Seek to Pass it With No Debate While Everyone is Distracted By Russia Investigation; This Implies Dark Times are Ahead

Senate Republicans are considering passing the AHCA, the ObamaCare repeal, with no debate (the bill is currently being re-written in secret).[1][2]

In other words, the Senate is essentially about to abandon a few of its duties, 1. to work with the rest of the Senate (like the Democrats did with the ACA) and 2. to check and balance the House (they are editing Ryan’s bill, and likely doing it in a way that doesn’t need to be rescored by the CBO, which means they will likely end up trying to pass the bill with very few changes).

It is hard to understate how insulting and disheartening that is from a historical viewpoint. If the founders wanted a uni-cameral legislature or a dictatorship, they would have created one!

From what I can tell the goal is to use the distraction over Comey, Trump, and Russia to pass through the ACA repeal (which is really just a repeal of all the taxes on the wealthy and industry and then the slashing of hundreds of billions in assistance) before they break for the summer.

With that said, at least the Nation agrees with me on this (as does Sen. Claire McCaskill):

The Nation: “This week, while everyone was distracted by former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell put the Republican health-care overhaul on fast track. His caucus is writing its bill in secret, and McConnell’s move means he could bring the legislation up for a vote anytime, without holding a single public hearing. All signs indicate that Senate Republicans are preparing to copy their colleagues in the House and jam through a massively destructive piece of legislation before the public knows what’s going on.”

McCaskill: “I heard you, Mr Secretary, just say, ‘I’d love your support’—for what?” McCaskill asked, holding up her hands. “We don’t even know. We have no idea what’s being proposed. There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions.” She went on, “We’re not even going to have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. We’re not even going to have an opportunity to offer a single amendment.”

McCaskill on Senate GOP health-care proposal: ‘We have no idea what’s being proposed’.

It was my hope that the Senate, being the traditional aristocracy meant to balance the House’s gruff populism, would have sought to work with Democrats and revise the the AHCA (thereby preventing the inevitable disaster of the bill-as-is-written)… but it looks like they will just try to shove their many tax breaks and spending cuts down America’s throat while they still have time.

That makes sense from a tactical angle, after-all, if Trump’s administration colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election it will be hard to pass a bill full of handouts that primarily benefit the very sort of folks who are under investigation (so moving quickly to full-fill promises to those who financed GOP campaigns like Mercer is vital).

After-all, the recent round of bills (AHCA, budget, Choice Act, and a few others) they are shoving through are pretty radical and it is doubtful the American people would approve of the details if they came under public scrutiny (why deregulate the very industry that caused the recession? Why undo all of ObamaCare’s coverage provisions in exchange for tax cuts? Why abolish the estate tax and not taxes on the middle class? None of it makes sense!)

The investigation into Trump’s campaign aside, Russia isn’t the real worry here in this week June 12, 2017. The real worry is the pile of legislation sitting in the Senate that is ready to gut the administrative state.

This moment is the culmination of everything the GOP has been working for since the 1980’s, I had secretly hoped our aristocratic Senators would stand up and help the American people, but they don’t seem to even have the ethics of their conservative Tory brethren across the sea.

Democrats might not be perfect, and the Republicans have the majority, but it still seems unfair that they get to decide America’s future with the help of a few short-sighted billionaires while no-one else gets input and while the people are distracted by a corruption scandal involving the Republicans.

One can’t help but wish they had some honest loyalty and could see their way to letting this tactic go. There is no way a bill like the AHCA is the best America can do.

If the best we can do is kick 23 million of their plans and give tax breaks to the rich, then we are better off doing nothing at all. Maybe those secret meetings produce an amazing alternative, but even if they do, the Republicans have a responsibility to at least allow Democrats input.

Citations

  1. Senate Republicans Hope You Won’t Notice They’re About to Repeal Obamacare With GOP “moderates” caving on Medicaid cuts, the skids are greased. By Zoë Carpenter
  2. Full text: James Comey testimony transcript on Trump and Russia

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