Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Democrats today announced new legislation – The “No Hearing, No Vote Act” — that would hold Senate Republicans’ feet to the fire and require that any legislation going through the fast-tracked reconciliation process, such as the Trumpcare bill Republicans are currently drafting in private, have at least one committee hearing and be reported out by at least one of the instructed Senate Committees before the full Senate is permitted to consider it. The legislation, first announced today by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Committees on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Committee on Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Committee on the Budget Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), will be formally introduced in the Senate today by Leader Schumer.
Despite the fact that the Republican bill would impact one sixth of the economy and millions of Americans’ healthcare, Senate Republicans are reportedly drafting a new version of Trumpcare behind closed doors and plan to fast-track the bill through the reconciliation process without having any committee hearings before a final Senate vote. Specifically, the Senate Democrats’ “No Hearing, No Vote Act” would prevent the full Senate from considering any reconciliation bill, such as Trumpcare, unless it has been reported out by at least one of the instructed Senate committees (in this case, the Senate Committees on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Finance) and there has been at least one hearing on every major reported provision in the bill.
The full text of the Senate Democrats’ legislation can be found here.
“Senate Republicans’ attempts to pass Trumpcare in the dark of night, without any transparency is one of the most egregious examples of legislative malpractice in decades. Republicans have held zero committee hearings, solicited zero bipartisan support, and plan to allow zero public debate – and all because they are ashamed this new version of Trumpcare would result in American families paying more for less coverage, just so the uber-wealthy can get a new massive tax break,” said Leader Schumer. “To all of America, this should be a red alert.”
“From what we’re hearing, the bill that an all-male group of Senate Republicans drafted and are now trying to jam through the Senate follows the same disastrous playbook as the House Republican version of Trumpcare: higher costs for families, especially seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, ending Medicaid as we know it, defunding Planned Parenthood, and more, all to give massive tax breaks to special interests in the health care industry and hand President Trump a hollow political win,” said Senator Murray. “If Senate Republicans are willing to jam this bill through despite what it would mean for their own constituents’ health and financial security, they should be willing to bring it out into the open and let families see it for themselves.”
“On a bill that affects over a sixth of the economy and the health security of tens of millions of Americans, secrecy is a recipe for disaster,” said Senator Wyden. “If Republicans want to use special Senate rules to jam through Trumpcare, they owe it to their constituents to explain what it’s going to do to them.”
“I say to my Republican colleagues: if you can’t defend your efforts to throw tens of millions off of health insurance, increase premiums for older workers and defund Planned Parenthood in order to provide a massive tax break to the top 2 percent, then give it up,” said Senator Sanders.
“It’s outrageous that Republicans are trying to ram through a bill that would kick millions off their health care and disrupt one sixth of the U.S. economy through a totally secret process,” said Senator Merkley. “There is no possible justification for bringing up a bill with such massive impact on the American people without holding a single hearing. If Republicans are proud of this bill, why not hold a hearing and let ‘We the People’ weigh in?”