This Republican Senator Who's Helping Write The AHCA Hasn't Even Seen The Bill
While there are many issues that divide Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, one point that some may actually be starting to agree on is that the secrecy of the American Health Care Act text has gone too far. Although he was named to the Senate group to rewrite the AHCA, Utah Sen. Mike Lee says he hasn't seen the AHCA bill.
After the House of Representatives passed the AHCA in May, the Senate Republican leadership put together a team of 13 male senators to draft a revised version. And now, the Senate is pushing for an AHCA vote sometime next week.
However, there have been concerns about the lack of transparency throughout the process, as well as the fact that the bill still hasn't been released to senators to read before the potential vote that could affect millions of Americans. According to CNN, Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that a "discussion draft" will be released on Thursday, which would be about a week before the Senate would possibly vote on the bill.
In a Facebook video, Lee admitted to his constituents that he hasn't seen the draft of the bill, saying:
Even though I've been a member of this working group among Senate Republicans assigned to help narrow some of the focus of this, I haven't seen the bill. It has become increasingly apparent in the last few days that even though we thought we were going to be in charge of writing a bill within this working group, it's not being written by us, it's apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership of the Senate.
Lee continued, saying that he shared people's frustration when it comes to the secrecy behind the bill:
So, if you're frustrated by that lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration. I share it wholeheartedly. The American people need and deserve to be able to see the legislation as it moves through the Senate. I hope that we will receive the draft legislation soon, I'm told that it exists, I just haven't been able to see it yet, and as far as I know, the overwhelming majority of my colleagues haven't been able to see it, either.
He also expressed concern about the Senate not having the ability to see it so close to the vote, even though Republican leadership in the Senate is eager to provide relief for the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, Democrats have adopted a new strategy to stop Senate business to protest the Obamacare repeal. Surely, the next two weeks will be very tense between the parties as Republicans rush to get the bill to a vote and Democrats do everything they can to slow the process down and press for transparency.