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tv   Senators on Republican Health Care Legislation  CSPAN  June 23, 2017 12:15am-1:10am EDT

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republicans have presented the draft health-care bill, this congressional budget office will score it. next week the full senate will debate the bill. follow the senate health care on c-span, c-span2, and the c-span radio app. c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, a pennsylvania republican congressman and an illinois them accredit congressman will discuss their job training and technical education bill. also the hills reporter will join us to talk about the senate health care bill. be sure to watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern on friday morning. join the discussion. senatecan leaders in the announced the health-care care bill to replace the affordable care act. their proposal repeals
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obamacare's individual mandate. it eliminates most of the current laws taxes. here is some of the senate beginningthe bill with majority leader mitch mcconnell. costs. it didn't. in 20 -- from 2013 to 2017 premiums have on average doubled in a vast majority of states on the federal exchange. next year obamacare premiums will go up across the country once again, potentially by as much as 43% in iowa, 59% in maryland, and even a staggering 80% in new mexico. does it sound like obamacare is working? they said it wouldn't increase choice -- they said it would increase choice. they said it would increase choice, but, of kowrgs, it didn't. this year 70% of american
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counties have had little or no choice of insurers under obamacare. next year at least 44 counties are projected to have no choice at all, meaning, yet again, americans could be thrown off their plans in states like missouri and ohio and wisconsin. does it sound like obamacare is working? democrats tell us it would be wrong for the senate to actually address these problems in a serious way while the law they've defended for seven years teeters -- literally teeters -- on the edge of total collapse. they were wrong before, they are wrong again now because obamacare isn't working by nearly any measure it has failed and no amount of lefnth hour denying or buck passing by democrats is going to change the fact that more americans are
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going to get hurt unless we do something. i regret that our democratic friends made clear early on that they did not want to work with us in a serious way to address the obamacare status quo. but republicans believe we have a responsibility to act and we are for our constituents, for our states and for our country. we've long called for a better way forward and we've been engaged in intensive talks on how to get there. through dozens of meetings open to each and every member of the conference, we've had the opportunity to offer and consider many ideas for confronting the obamacare status quo. we debated many policy proposals, we considered many different viewpoints. in the end we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved and how we can achieve it. these shared policy objectives and the solutions to help achieve them are what made up the health care discussion draft
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that we -- we finished talking through. we agreed on the need to free those under the obamacare mandate. the individual mandate will be repealed so individuals will no longer have to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford, we will repeal the employer mandate so americans no longer see their hours and take-home pay cut by employers because of it. we agreed on the need to improve the affordability of health insurance and policies contained in the discussion draft will do that. it will eliminate costly obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers so we can put downward pressure on premiums, expand tax-free savings accounts and help defray out-of-pocket costs and shift power from washington to the states so they have more flexibility to provide
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more americans with the kind of affordable insurance options they actually want. we agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under obamacare as well as policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets and hope to americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under obamacare. and ultimately transition away from obamacare's collapsing system entirely so more americans will not be hurt. we also agree on the need to strengthen medicaid, preserve access to care with preexisting conditions, and allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance through the age of 26. i'm pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members who represent so many different constituents who are facing so many different
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challenges. the draft containing the solutions i mentioned, along with so many others, are posted online and i encourage everyone to carefully review testimony. there will be ample time to analyze, discuss, and provide thoughts before legislation comes to the floor, and i hope every senator takes that opportunity. next week we expect the congressional budget office to release a score, after that we will proceed with a robust debate and open amendment process here on the senate floor -- a process that i would encourage each of our 100 senators to participate in when legislation does come to the floor it will present senate democrats with an opportunity to do what is right for the american people. they can choose to keep standing by as fair failing law continues to collapse and hurt more americans. but i hope they will join us instead to bring us to help the families who have been struggling with obamacare for far too long.
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either way -- either way it's time to act because obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class and american families deserve better than its failing status quo. they deserve better care. that's just what we're going to continue to work to bring them. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the marshall billingslea nomination. the clerk: department of treasury, marshall billingslea to be assistant secretary of terrorist financing.
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mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: well, we're beginning to receive the first bits of information about the senate republican health care bill, which until now, has been shrouded in absolute secrecy. i can see why. even as we continue to get more details, the broad outlines are clear. this is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least. this is a bill that would end medicaid as we know it, rolling back medicaid expansion, cutting federal support for the program even more than the house bill which cut medicaid by $800 billion. let me remind everyone in this chamber medicaid is not just a health insurance program for
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americans struggling in poverty, though that is an important and necessary part of it. medicaid is increasingly a middle-class program. medicaid is how many americans is -- are able to access opioid abuse treatment. medicaid foots the bill for two-thirds of all americans living in nursing homes, and medicaid provide the cushion, particularly in rural areas, so hospitals can survive and give top-notch health care to all of us. from what is reported, in just three short years under the senate bill, millions will be cut off medicaid coverage. and then starting in 2025, the plan will institute even more medicaid cuts and each year those cuts get deeper than the year before. within 10 years of this new funding system, the cuts to
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medicaid could total hundreds of billions of dollars above the more than 800 billion the house bill already cuts from the program. every senior in america should read the fine print of this bill. it looks like american seniors could be paying way more. why do this? looking at the bill, the answer is because the republicans want to give a tax break to the wealthiest americans, those making over $200,000 a year and set themselves up to give these folks another even larger tax cut in their tax bill. even though much of the early reporting says the bill will keep certain protections for americans with preexisting conditions, the truth is it may well not guarantee them the coverage they need. by allowing states to waive
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essential health benefits, what the bill is saying to those americans is insurance still has to cover you, but it doesn't have to cover what you may actually need, it doesn't have to cover all or most of your costs. if you need treatment for opioid addiction, your plan may no longer cover it. if you are pregnant and need maternity care, your plan may decide that is too much to cover. what people actually need to cover their health needs may become nonexistent under this bill. simply put, this bill will result -- not right now, at the end of my remarks. simply put, this bill will result in higher costs, less care, and millions of americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through medicaid. it's every bit as bad as the house bill.
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in some ways it's even worse. the president said the senate bill needed heart. the way this bill cuts health care is heartless. the president said the house bill was mean. the senate bill may be meaner. the senate republican health care bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the house bill. it's clear that republicans know that cutting medicaid will hurt so many people in the middle class, so many in my home state of new york. republicans know that people want to sengs -- want essential health benefits. so they created a disguise by saying these changes won't occur for a year. but in reality, the senate republican bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing, only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the house bill.
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and we're potentially voting on it in a week -- no committee hearings, no amendments in committee, no debate on the floor save for ten measly hours on one of the most important bills we're dealing with in decades. that brings shame on this body. we won't even know the full cost or consequence of the bill until c.b.o. scores it. and that could take a few days more. how can my friend, the majority leader, expect this body to fairly consider this legislation, prepare amendments, and debate it in one week with only ten hours of debate? how can he expect his own members to do the same? many of them on the republican side are learning the details of the bill the same way we democrats are. they're reading it today. now, listen to what the majority
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leader had to say in 2009 when we were debating health care. his words. this is a very important issue. we shouldn't try to do it in the dark. and whatever final bill is produced should be available to the american public and to members of the senate, certainly for enough time to come to grips with it. and we're going to insist, the american people are going to insist that it be done in a transparent, fair, and open way. is five or six days enough time for the american people and members of the senate to come to grips with a bill that affects one-sixth of the economy and the lives of every american in this country? i don't think so. neither do the american people, and neither do a whole bunch of republican senators. senator cassidy. would i have preferred a more open process? the answer is yes.
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senator collins. i don't think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill, but we'll see when it comes out. there is member after member, rand paul, lindsey graham, jerry moran, marco rubio, bob corker, who repeatedly have said this process, in their words and now in mine, is unfair, is truncated, is rushed. for my dear friend, the majority leader, to say we're going to have an open amendment process is turning truth upside down. i would ask our leader rhetorically, because i know the answer, can we allow at least one hour on each amendment, not two minutes? will we have more time than ten hours to debate the bill?
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i hope so. but if not, please don't call this an open and fair process. if you want to rush it through, admit the consequences. now, mr. president, the debate over health care has been fierce. we know that the republicans and democrats had differences when we debated the affordable care act. at least we had a debate. at least we had committee hearings and a process, and more broadly than that, at least we democrats were trying to pass a health care bill that helped more americans afford insurance and tried to bring costs down and end some of the most egregious practices of the health care industry. what is this bill, trumpcare, trying to achieve? it seems designed to slash support for health care programs in order to give tax breaks to the very wealthy, and when the
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c.b.o. score comes out, i believe it will verify that millions of americans in this great country will be unable to afford insurance or the insurance they can afford won't cover the services they need. somewhere in america, mr. president, there's a family who takes a trip each friday to visit grandma or grandpa at a nursing home, who sacrificed all of their savings to pay for their health care until they had no more savings, and now relies on medicaid to help pay the costs of long-term care in a nursing home. somewhere in america, there's a father who is eaten up inside, watching his son struggle with opioid addiction, who knows in his heart that his son would be
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able to go on and live a healthy and fulfilling life if he could only afford treatment to get him out from under his devastating addiction. somewhere in america, there's a parent whose child has cancer, a mother and father who stay up late at night, worried that their insurance will either not be available or run out when the family needs it most. in the america that my republican friends envision with this health care bill, those americans and many more beside might not get the coverage and care they need. we live in the wealthiest country on earth. surely, surely we can do better than what the republican health care bill promises. now i have a unanimous consent
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request. i'm going to have to delay my friend from asking questions until we finish our unanimous consent requests. i ask unanimous consent that any substitute or perfecting amendment offered to calendar numbered 120, h.r. 1628, not be in order if the text of the amendment has not been filled at the desk and made available on a public website for at least 72 hours, along with an analysis by the congressional budget office of the bill's budgetary coverage and cost implications. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: mr. president, reserving the right to object, my colleague, senator cornyn, was going to ask the question, which i will answer, which was the majority leader's referring to a bill that he hadn't seen a copy of because it hadn't yet been released, so the speech you just heard was about a bill that he hasn't seen. with regard to his consent, i
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object. mr. schumer: mr. president. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. schumer: mr. president, parliament privilege -- not parliament privilege. leader time. the presiding officer: the senator has the floor. mr. schumer: thank you. 142 pages thus far of this supposed bill have been printed online, and that's what i have used. mr. durbin: mr. president. the presiding officer: the minority whip. mr. durbin: mr. president, several weeks ago, the house of representatives passed a bill to repeal the affordable care act and to replace it. it was passed without hearings. it was passed without an amendment process, and it was passed before the congressional budget office, provided that traditional analysis, which we count on before we take up a measure of such magnitude, that measure passed with a party-line vote. all republicans. had two republican senators voted the other way, it would not have moved forward. after it passed, the president
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of the united states decided to have a celebration at the white house. we saw him on television gathering the republican members of the house of representatives and celebrating the fact that this measure had passed and finally they were going to repeal the affordable care act. but then the american people took a close look and the congressional budget office issued its analysis, and it turns out that 23 million americans would lose their health insurance because of this republican measure that passed the house of representatives. it turns out as well there would be a dramatic increase in health insurance premiums for people between the ages of 50 and 64. it turned out that in my state and many other states, hospitals were in danger. the only hospital -- the illinois hospital association says they would lose 60,000 jobs in illinois with the dramatic cutbacks in medicaid, endangering hospitals in rural areas and inner city areas. the facts started coming out about this repeal bill passed by the house of representatives and
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the president of the united states had a change of heart and announced to the american people it was a mean bill, a mean bill. the president was right. it was mean legislation. mean to the millions who lost their health care. mean to seniors who would find their premiums going up dramatically. mean to the people living in rural areas and small towns who count on those hospitals. well, the president was right. it was mean. and then the responsibility shifts to the united states senate. the majority leader, senator mcconnell and his republican followers had a chance to do a bill that was not mean. they had a chance to sit down on a bipartisan basis and to have the same process we used to create the affordable care act. that would have involved public hearings. we had 50 public hearings on the affordable care act. it would have involved a real amendment process. the affordable care act had 300 amendments.
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how many were offered by the republicans? over 150 offered and adopted, in a bipartisan process when we passed the affordable care act. the american people got a good look at the bill. the congressional budget office issued their analysis before we voted on it, and we passed it and i'm glad we did and i'm proud of that vote, but what happened in the senate when it came to the republicans? they went into secrecy. 13 chosen republican senators all sat in a room and wrote the throrn, or so we're told. they met in secret and never once had a public hearing, never once disclosed to the american people what was being debated, never once gave an opportunity for real bipartisan cooperation to strengthen our existing health care system. not at all. so all we have at this moment is truly press accounts of what's been announced to the republican senate caucus, what they're going to get a chance to read and see, but it's enough to see
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that when it comes down to the basics, there's not much of a change between the house of representatives effort and the senate effort. you know, mr. president, you can put a lace collar on a pit bull and it's still a mean dog. what we have with the republicans in the senate here is an attempt to dust up the edges of the house bill and say this is not as mean. i'll tell you at the end of the day from the reports we have, this is still a mean dog and one that the people of the united states don't want to see happen. there isn't a single medical advocacy group, not one in my state and i don't know any nationwide that endorse what the republicans in the house have accomplished with the passage of their bill, and this bill mirrors it as well, and we can expect the same result. so the only thing we can offer the american people is a chance to be part of the conversation on a bill that will literally change health care for millions of americans, and if they are going to be part of the
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conversation, there's got to be a chance for amendment and debate at least and a chance for the american people to see what's in the senate republican measure. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that any substitute or perfecting amendment offered to calendar numbered 120, h.r. 1628, be subjected to a inpoint of order -- to a point of order if the texas of the amendment has not been filed at the desk and made available on public website for at least 72 hours, along with an analysis by the congressional budget office of the bill's budgetary coverage and cost implications, and that a motion to waive the point of order be in order, and if a motion to waive is made, an affirmative three-fifths vote of those duly chosen and sworn is required to waive the point of order. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: reserving the right to object, i want to thank my friend and assistant democratic leader for confirming that the majority leader's remarks obviously were made on the basis of news accounts.
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the bill has only been posted online for the last 20 minutes. mr. schumer: would the majority leader? mr. mcconnell: i will field for a question -- yield for a question. mr. schumer: does the majority leader know that only a half-hour before we came to the floor were 142 pages of the bill listed online, and that's what we used in our report. and i would ask the majority leader a further question, if there is anything i said, anything i said that is not going to be in the bill, could he clarify? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mrs. murray: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, what we are seeing today is just the latest broken promise from president trump and his republican party after weeks of secret negotiations, back room deals, shutting outpatients and
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families and democrats and even many republicans from this process, senate republican leaders are now just days away from putting a bill on the floor that could not be more impactful or more devastating to families' bank accounts and their health. as even republicans are pointing out, there has not been a single hearing, no robust debate, no opportunity for the people who will really suffer under this bill to see exactly how bad it would be. mr. president, this disastrous trumpcare bill deserves full scrutiny under an open process, like the process that democrats conducted when we passed the affordable care act. we held hearings. we took amendments from both sides, and we certainly didn't leave the fate of women's health care up to a few republican men. senate republicans are right to be ashamed of this mean and
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heartless legislation. just like the house trumpcare bill, it will increase premiums, it will undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions, it will defund planned parenthood and allow insurance companies, insurance companies to charge women more. it's going to gut medicaid. it will take away care for our seniors, for pregnant women, people with disabilities, and it will take health insurance coverage away from millions of people across the country. and for what? to give another massive tax cut for the wealthy and well connected. mr. president, oid' be ashamed, too, if i had to defend a bill this cruel. i can certainly understand why republican leaders do not want to give time to see what's in this bill and why they don't even want to give their own members time to see how much their constituents hate it. but that's the bed senate republicans have now made. if they're going to try and pass this disastrous version of
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trumpcare, at the very least they shouldn't get to jam it through without the public knowing good and well what they're up to. so, mr. president, i ask a parliamentary inquiry. is the chair able to confirm that the committee on health, education, labor and pensions considered s. 1679, the affordable health choices act which was ultimately incorporated into the patient protection and affordable care act in executive session on 13 calendar days prior to reporting the bill favorably? the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office through the senate library can confirm that. mrs. murray: that is confirmed. so i ask unanimous consent today that any substitute or perfecting amendment offered to calendar number 120, h.r. 1628 not be in order if the text of the amendment has not been subject of a hearing, subject of an executive session during which amendments from both the
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majority and minority were considered and reported favorably by the committee on finance and the committee on health, education, labor, and pensions. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: reserving the right to object. mr. president, none of these senators have read the bill. it's -- i have the floor, mr. president. the bill is 142 pages long compared to 2,700-page long obamacare bill. they can read the bill. if they have objections to the provisions, we can debate them but what they're talking about is a bill that does not exist which they have not read. i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: minority leader. mr. schumer: would my dear colleague from texas yield for a question? the presiding officer: the senator from texas does not have the floor. you have the floor. mr. schumer: i would like to just then tell the -- my friend from texas, this is the bill. it was posted online a half-hour
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before we came online. and i'd ask a page to come over and bring it to my dear friend and ask him if this is the bill, which we have read. mr. cornyn: mr. president, all senators have a copy of this discussion draft bill. it is a discussion draft which will be open to an amendment process with unlimited amendments that could be offered by both sides following -- after which -- or before which we'll have a fullsome debate. our colleagues are complaining about secrecy that doesn't exist. this bill is online. the american people can read it. you can read it. i would suggest that they do read it before they start criticizing it. mr. schumer: i would ask my friend from texas to yield for another question. mr. cornyn: i will. mr. schumer: will we get more than two minutes to debate each amendment we ask for or will we be under reconciliation process where we have simply ten hours of debate and then every amendment only gets two minutes? and does he consider that two
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minutes, if that's a case, a full and fair debate on each amendment? mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would say in response to my friend from new york, the fact that we're having to conduct this under the reconciliation rules is a result of their refusal to participate in the process, thus necessitating republicans doing this under reconciliation rules. if they would do this in a true bipartisan way where we could get 60 votes to get on the bill and open it to amendment process, we could have a better bill. but given the refusal of our democratic colleagues to participate in the process, this is the only way we can come to the rescue of the people who are being hurt by the meltdown of obamacare today. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: just to clarify did the senator from texas object to the senator from washington. mr. cornyn: i do object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: mr. president, i heard the objection. i just have to say the exchange
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we just heard is exactly what we've been objecting to. we were told that the bill would be online at 9:30 this morning. it was online at 11:00. i have a copy of it. but we're hearing from the other side now that this isn't the bill. this is a discussion draft. we aren't going to see the bill. we won't see the real bill apparently until next week, even though we were told we'd see it this morning. this has been the problem we've had since the -- this discussion started. we started in january with the process that cut us out of this under reconciliation. 13 men in a private room wrote this, quote, discussion draft that's not a bill that we're supposed to now look at and decide whether or not we like it and the american public. a discussion draft? a bill? even the other side doesn't know what we have. that's what we're objecting to. we're asking that the american people who have a right to know what is going to impact every one of their lives, every one of their families, every one of their communities, every one of
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their businesses have more than a discussion draft, more than ten hours of debate, time to look at it and know how we're even going to do an amendment process next week. this is deplorable. mr. cornyn: would the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mrs. murray: happy to. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would ask the senator from washington if she's aware of the fact that under the budget reconciliation process, there will be an unlimited number of amendments could be offered by either side to the bill that's ultimately filed. mrs. murray: mr. president, i am well aware of that. i will remind our colleagues and everybody in this country what will happen is that there will be ten hours of debate where we hopefully have more than a discussion draft, that we will be allowed to offer amendments on, and there will be no debate on those amendments. no one will know what it is. it will be a chaotic process on this floor. the american public won't know. we'll be able to tell them days later after this gets undone. that's not an amendment process. that is not what we went through
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when we passed the affordable care act. the american public deserves better. the presiding officer: minority leader. mr. schumer: i'd ask my colleague a question. what would be wrong with one hour of debate on every amendment to this bill? what is the objection to that since the majority is proposing no debate on amendments and then saying it's an open process? what is wrong with one hour of debate on every amendment offered to this bill? mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'd say in response to my friend, the minority leader, that it is as a result of their refusal to participate in the usual process of passing legislation through the regular order. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. cornyn: that we have to resort to the budget reconciliation process. it has a set of statutory provisions and rules. there will be a fulsome debate. there's already been a debate on a bill that you haven't read.
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i subject you take the time to read it and then we can talk about the details. but this bill, 142 pages compared to 2,700 pages of obamacare, it doesn't take that long to read. this is a start. this is not the finish. and this is called the normal legislative process. and i suggest colleagues rather than criticize the bill that they haven't read, they read it and then let's have a credible debate. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: democratic leader. mr. schumer: i would ask my friend, the minority -- the majority whip from texas, a series of questions. what was -- what was the date that reconciliation was added to the budget resolution which said we didn't need any democratic votes? was it may? was it april? was it march? or was it the very beginning of this session? i'd ask him another question. where were the meetings held to discuss this bill and were any democrats invited? i'd ask him another question.
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why did the majority leader not accept our offer to go into the old senate chamber, a hundred senators, no press, no anything else, and debate the bill? and how can my good friend, and he is a good friend. we're on the bikes in the morning, my good friend from texas, say there was a bipartisan process when at the outset, on the outset our republican colleagues said the only thing we'll rebate is repeal and then replace. there was no discussion of whether repeal was the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, and now overwhelmingly the american people prefer fixing obamacare which we offered to do than repeal and replace and it's no wonder, i would say to my colleague as he anxiouses these questions, that this bill is being brought in the dark of night. it is because my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are ashamed of the bill because believe you me, mr. president,
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if they like this bill, they'd have brass bands down every main street in america talking about it, but they're trying to sneak it through because mainly their goal is a tax cut for the rich. so i'd ask my colleague to answer those three questions and then he can respond to my rhetoric. the presiding officer: majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i'm really taken aback by the characterization of the minority leader here. the minority has made it clear that you don't want to participate in the process of rescuing the american people from the failures of obamacare. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. cornyn: it's been made clear to us that you don't want to participate in the process, and you are turning a blind eye to the people -- to millions of people who are being hurt today by outrageous premiums, deductibles they can't afford, and a loss of choices because insurance companies have pulled out of the individual market. you're -- your response to them is we don't care.
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we care. and we're doing our best to deal with this. this is like going by a car accident or somebody seriously injured and rather than stopping and rendering aid, just driving on by. that's what our colleagues on the other side are doing. they're turning a blind eye driving right on by a seriously injured person in a car accident. we are coming to the rescue of the people, the millions of people who are being hurt by obamacare today. we would love to have our democratic friends join us and do something truly sustainable. but you have to remember, my friends, how this started. democrats jammed obamacare through on a partyline vote and republicans weren't able to participate in that process. so what we are trying to do is we're trying to save the people who are currently being hurt and whose health care has become unaffordable. if you'd like to join us in this process, we'd love to have you. but failing that, we're going to get it done and you can just
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drive right by the car wreck. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: a senator: leader. mr. schumer: here's the correct analogy. yes, there's been an accident. yes, someone needs help. someone who's not a doctor, not a physician doesn't know how to help the patient. our republican friends go by the side of the road. but they don't know what to do. so the democrats come by. we're doctors. we say we know how to fix this system. we know how to fix this patient. and the republicans say no, don't help us. we'll drive right by. and now the patient is ailing. but i'd ask my colleague let's forget the past for a moment because we've got a much better argument than you. we had hundreds of amendments offered by republicans that became part of our bill. i doubt there will be a single democratic amendment that will be. we had hours of hearings, hours of debates. you didn't. you may have thought the process wasn't perfect. it's a lot more open than yours. i have a proposal to my friend. let us forget this draft bill. let us right now, democrats and
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republicans, sit down and try to come up with a bipartisan bill. we're willing to do it today, now, this minute. will you accept that offer? mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. cornyn: mr. president, if i thought that was a sincere offer, i would take it in a minute, in a new york minute. but it's not. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. mr. cornyn: the fact of the matter is that insurance companies are having to go to the state regulators as we speak to get insurance rates approved for 2018. that's the urgency that we are experiencing here, and unless we act and act in an expedited fashion here very soon, we're going to see millions of people have their insurance rates raised by another double digit. it's been 105% since 2013, 105%. obamacare was sold under the premise that families of four
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would see a reduction of $2,500. if you liked your policy, you can keep your policy. if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. all of that's false, false. this is a failed experiment. they may not be willing to help but we will. and we will get it done and help the american people who are being hurt by the failure of obamacare today. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, i'm struck by this conversation as the ranking democrat on the senate finance committee, my colleague, the distinguished senator from texas, is on the finance committee, he knows that i know something about writing bipartisan health reform bills. i've written them. they become law. i can tell my colleagues i have not once, not once been asked to be part of any bipartisan effort
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with respect to this legislation. and i think, colleagues, it's real clear what is going on here. senate republicans are going to keep telling americans they're fixing their health care right up until the second it gets taken away. now, as itself ranking member of the finance committee, i find it bizarre that a health bill of this importance was hidden for so long behind closed doors, denying the american people the opportunity to see it together in an open debate. there have been no hearings on this dangerous, destructive proposal. not one hearing on whether medicaid should be slashed to pay for tax cuts for the fortunate few, not one hearing on whether the bedrock protections for those with preexisting conditions ought to
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be shattered. not one hearing on whether americans should have to face higher costs. this secretive process of concealing and rushing this bill, which until today has been seen by nobody -- nobody outside of the republican leadership and their lobbyists allies who dwell on k street, the secretive process stands in sharp contrast to the process that led to the affordable care act. is the committee on finance to consider america's health future act which was ultimately incorporated into the patient protection and affordable care act on eight separate calendar days prior to reporting the bill favorably. the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office through the senate library
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confirms that. mr. wyden: i have information that indicates that 135 amendments were considered in committee, and of those 14 amendments offered by republican members of the committee or offered in a bipartisan manner were adopted during the consideration of s. 1796. is the chair able to confirm that? the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office through the senate library confirms that. mr. wyden: therefore, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that no motion to proceed to calendar number 120, h.r. 1628 be in order until the bill has been the subject of executive committees in the committee on finance and health, education, labor and pensions committee during which the majority and minority receive votes and the bill has been favorably reported from those committees. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: reserving the right
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to object. our colleagues are coming here today to say they want to fix what is broken in affordable care act. i have in my hand a newsletter that the democratic leader and his colleagues sent saying that they refuse to participate in the process unless we drop all of our plans to repeal and replace obamacare. they refuse to participate in the process. i would just point out, mr. president, the failures of obamacare didn't just start today. it's been failing over seven years and they did nothing -- nothing -- nothing to help the millions of people who are being hurt, who had to move from full-time work to part-time work because their employer didn't want to pay the employer penalty for not providing obamacare coverage. we know that many people have been hurt by it and not -- not the least of which are the people who are finding their
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premiums skyrocketing. they will do so again next year unless we come to their rescue. they've seen their deductibles so high they've effectively been denied the value of their insurance. i had a conversation just a couple of days ago -- i won't name what the democratic senator because it was done in confidence -- who confided to me that his own son had effectively seen his premiums go up so high that it cost roughly $12,500 out-of-pocket to deal with his deductible and to pay his premiums -- $12,000 500. that's not -- $12,500. that is not afford, certainly not to the middle class. so i would object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the presiding officer: the senator -- the senator from michigan.
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ms. stabenow: before the distinguished majority whip leaves, what is being talked about here is like having a hole in the roof of your house, and instead of patching it, they want to burn down the house. what we are not willing to participate in is burning down the house. we are more than happy and in fact have proposals and anxious to work with the majority to improve health care, not rip it athe part and take tens of millions of people's health care away, but improve it. before asking a question of the majority whip, i want to indicate for all those listening, we have the bill and we can read pretty quickly. it has been out. and even though it is considered a rough draft, we have it, we are analyzing it. what our leader -- the democratic leader -- indicated is that we have read in the discussion draft, which is not
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only the same, but it is worse for seniors, for those in nursing homes, for children in emission, and a -- for children, for those in -- for children in michigan. i ask the majority whip, instead of burning down the house and ripping apart the health care system, would you join with us in putting forward a bill that would allow medicare negotiate prescription drug prices for seniors which my hospitals and insurance companies tell me are one of the driving forces raising the cost of health care. would you be willing to work with us on a bill to lower prescription drug prices and allow medicare to lower drug prices on behalf of american seniors. mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, i would say to the senator from michigan, we would be happy to work with you on high drug
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prices. that is a prime problem and one of the primary drivers of health care costs today, but this bill doesn't touch medicare at all and so we leave in tact the health care for seniors and it's not touched by this at all. but when the time comes for us to deal with medicare, i think that's a debate we should have and we would welcome. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: to the distinguished majority whip, with this legislation, which is essentially burning down the house, that you join with us where you admitted that one of the top drivers of health care costs in this country, which is what we want to tackle, mr. president. we want to bring down the costs -- bring down the costs of prescription drugs, and out-of-pocket costs for those
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whose premiums are too high. taking away the ability for a parent to take a child to the doctor or someone with cancer or a small business owner being blocked from getting health care because of a preexisting condition, we consider that burning down the house. we are opposed to that. frankly, we would like to have a ceremony and light this on fire and then come back together and then work together on the number one driver which is the cost of prescription drugs. the presiding officer: the majority whip. mr. cornyn: mr. president, maybe i misunderstood the question initially. i would suggest to the senator from michigan that it is the democrats under obamacare who burned down the house because the individual market for health care has been decimated -- decimated -- and we are coming to the rescue of those millions of people who don't have employer-provided insurance, they don't get their coverage under medicare or any other government program. they get it from the individual
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market. you are talking about individuals and small businesses. right now people have almost no choices in many parts of the country and those who have choices simply don't have it -- it is simmably unaffordable -- simply unaffordable. it is an important conversation to have on drug prices and medicare. i'm happy to do that. that would do nothing, zip, zero, nada to help the people who are hurting now as far as obamacare and that's who we are determined to help by passing this legislation after an open-amendment process and fulsome debate. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: i would like to make one other comment, than is for the people in michigan who are purchasing on the private exchange, over half of which are able to get a policy today for their families for less than $100, i would say they would have a different perspective. we need to fix those things that are not working. but for the 95% of children in michigan who can now see a
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doctor because of what has been done, for the hospitals who are seeing 50% fewer people walking into the emergency room without insurance that are raising the costs for all policies, for the savings that the state of michigan is going to have in its budget next year of $432 million of savings to taxpayers because they did the right thing by allowing children to go to a doctor instead of getting sick and going to the emergency room, i would suggest this is the >> that senate republicans have presented their drafted bill -- financial analysis next week. the full senate will debate the bill. we will hold the debate live on c-span2, and the c-span radio app. obama president barack
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posted a statement on the republican health care bill on his facebook page. in red -- -- it read the republican health care replacement bill received some opposition within the party as wachovia punk and senators released a statement saying they cannot support the bill in its current form. senator rand paul was among those signing the statement. he talked about the bill at a capitol hill briefing.


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