Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

This week in Congress: Health care, Russia and an eye on Georgia

This week in Congress: Health care, Russia and an eye on Georgia

Reports that Senate Republicans are considering phasing out the Obamacare Medicaid expansion over three to seven years, instead of ending it in 2020 as the House bill would, have upset some House conservatives, as have other details that have leaked from the Senate talks. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, left, and Sen.

While Senate Republican leaders say they plan to vote on their health care bill by the end of the month, their rank-and-file members still have deep divisions over major parts of the legislation - and virtually none of them have seen a draft of the bill.

Although the House narrowly passed its own healthcare legislation, the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), last month, the Senate immediately made a decision to draft its own bill rather than take up the AHCA.

The senators targeted in the ads have expressed some reservations about the emerging Senate legislation or the process and timeline with which GOP leaders are crafting it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and a small clutch of aides are writing the bill behind closed doors as McConnell consults GOP senators. He also said that the philosophy of you don't get it if you can't pay for it will not happen with the people and they are going to insure everybody. That's after he called the House version of the bill "mean".

Amidst mounting frustration about Republicans' secretive deliberations to repeal Obamacare, Democrats plan to throw sand in the gears of the Senate to try to force a more public debate. The 72-hour event will begin Wednesday at 5 pm with a sit-in at Sen.

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"Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple", Senate Minority Leader Charles D. Schumer. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican Senator, doesn't want any delay in repeal and wants the congress to vote, on the same day, on replacement.

Meanwhile, a Fourth of July recess deadline looms for Republicans to vote on a healthcare proposal.

They include Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona, both up for re-election next year, as well as Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.

According to The Washington Post, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is planning to use the "mean" comment in ads against several House GOP lawmakers who could run for Senate next year in Pennsylvania. Doctors and hospitals, on the other hand, could face a surge in uninsured patients if millions fewer Americans have health coverage. Some Republicans are admitting that any effort to open up would simply provide an opportunity for Democrats to criticize the bill. Planned Parenthood backers say they will argue to the Parliamentarian that the budget impact of the language is "merely incidental" to the policy aim and therefore should not be allowed in the Senate bill.

He added: "I hate to think that looking back on this period, we'll realize that the most regressive piece of social legislation in modern American history was passed, and no one was paying attention".

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