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Senate Republicans Do Not Care About Process Of Governing–Rule 14 Proves My point

June 12, 2017

There are a few constants on this blog. Newspapers are an important part of our democracy, Elvis will always be ‘The King’, and the process of government is as important–if not more so–than the outcome of any policy decision. That latter point is why I am most dismayed with Senate Republicans who are throwing away procedure for a most clumsy attempt to pass anything termed a health care bill.

Last week Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked “rule 14” to allow Senate Republicans to rush through their health care repeal without anyone seeing it.  If you wish to get into the weeds with me for a minute let me explain.  McConnell’s goal is to present a bill to the CBO for analysis as soon as this week.  That means a final vote can be held before Sept. 30. That’s the deadline for a measure to be passed this year under Senate budget reconciliation rules–and that is important as it would prevent a Democratic filibuster and allow passage by the GOP’s razor-thin 52-48 majority — with Vice President Mike Pence casting the deciding vote if two Republican senators bail out and produce a tie.

Now let me spell out what that means in stark terms.  There will be no public hearings.  There will be no chance to read the bill.   There will be stunted dialogue among the citizenry as there will be scant knowledge of its full rectifications.

While that is certainly one way to operate when elected it does not meet the test of sound governing or open and transparent policy making.  But it is akin to what we saw when House Speaker Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans used a similar method to ram health care repeal through the House.  It should be noted that such a process gave the GOP only one thing.  A disastrous bill that will make those who supported it cannon fodder in the midterm elections.   BOOM!

The House version’s unpopularity has only deepened over time; the disapproval split was 57%-20% on May 25–and it has only gotten more dire since then for the GOP numbers. A Quinnipac University poll released last Thursday found that American voters disapprove of the GOP House measure by 62%-17%.

The House bill left 23 million Americans uninsured, slashed funding for Medicaid, and let insurance companies deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.  Even pre-natal care found itself under attack from the ‘pro-family’ conservatives.  It was a comedy show without the popcorn.

The GOP has no idea how to remove themselves from the silly season when they scammed the gullible angry white men into thinking they would repeal the ACA.   Now that they have the congressional majority they need to hide their draft of changes from public scrutiny as they know this proposal is explosive.  They know that the very ones they preyed on for support in the election–those feeble minded angry white men–are the ones to be hurt in many districts around the country when it comes to their health care plan.

There is always the option that Senate Republicans can take the high road and play by the rules of open governing.  But perhaps being cannon fodder in the mid-terms is their goal.  If so–great job!

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