Senate Democrats plan to talk about health care in speeches on the Senate floor extending late into Monday evening, according to a senior Democratic Senate aide familiar with the plans. The bill is shaping up to have a similar structure as the House's bill, while more reflecting the principles of centrist Republicans in both chambers.
"Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. If there is one dramatic difference on the GOP health care bill, it is the absence of public committee hearings on various GOP proposals.
GOP leaders in the Senate had not planned to hold public hearings on the bill, a move which has been highly criticized by Democrats and other supporters of Obamacare.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged. Democratic lawmakers are also responding to growing pressure from progressive activists who have been calling for more aggressive opposition.
They then listed all of the rooms available in Senate Office buildings for them to schedule a health care hearing.
"It's not unusual, especially for a big bill like this". That's because Republicans are using the Senate's budget reconciliation process, which requires 50 votes rather than the usual 60 (with Vice President Mike Pence voting to break the tie). Marco Rubio, R-Fla. "So the first step in this may be crafted among a small group of people, but then everyone's going to get to weigh in".
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MCEVERS: Very quickly, how likely is it Republicans could come up with something that will pass?
But Democrats say not so fast.
Also on Monday, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of MA were scheduled to rally supporters against the Republican plan in a Facebook Live event, another Democratic aide said.
Community Catalyst Action Fund, an organization that opposes the GOP effort, kicked off an advertising campaign Monday pressuring five Republican senators not to vote for the legislation.
Still, Senate Republicans badly want to take up other priorities such as overhauling the country's tax code.
"This radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such outcome leaves the Senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.
"At the end of the process, Congress will have a chance to turn the page on this failed law", he said.