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Democrats 'hold the floor' to delay vote on GOP healthcare bill

By Ray Downs
Democrats 'hold the floor' to delay vote on GOP healthcare bill
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speak to reporters about the pending GOP health care bill, following the Senate Democratic Policy Committee’s weekly meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 9. His party has vowed to delay a Senate vote on the bill. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

June 19 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats have vowed to "hold the floor" and bring Senate business to a standstill in an effort to prevent the Republican-approved healthcare bill that would effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act.

I don't care who you voted for — this health care plan will not solve anyone's problems. It will devastate people's lives. #HoldTheFloor," tweeted Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., using the hashtag that Democrats adopted to promote their message.

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The aim of the Senate floor protest is to force the healthcare bill back to committee in order to delay a vote. But it's also meant as a way to bring attention to the bill itself, which Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has refused to release details about.

"Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "These are merely the first steps we're prepared to take in order to shine a light on this shameful Trumpcare bill and reveal to the public the GOP's true intentions: to give the uber-wealthy a tax break while making middle class Americans pay more for less healthcare coverage. If Republicans won't relent and debate their healthcare bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn't expect business as usual in the Senate."

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Democrats speculate that Republicans want to keep details of the bill undercover to prevent a public backlash against the bill, similar to what happened the first time the Republican bill went through the GOP-controlled House and failed to gather enough votes for passage.

After some tweaking, the bill passed the second time it was introduced.

The Senate version of the healthcare bill is being drafted by a small group of GOP aids led by McConnell and analysts say a bill with such large ramifications for the entire country being developed in secrecy is unprecedented.

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 "I've never seen anything like it, as far as the secrecy," Paul Ginsburg, a health policy expert at the University of Southern California, told the Washington Post.

Even some Republicans are unhappy with the level of secrecy involved.

"My primary concern is writing a bill and not having enough time to analyze it," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told the Chicago Tribune. "I don't want to get jammed."

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