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tv   U.S. Senate Democrats Call for Hearings on Health Care Bill in Late Night...  CSPAN  June 19, 2017 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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model the changes were to highlight the closer nature republicans health care negotiations when the democrats take before, they will also begin objecting to a variety of unanimous consent request that generally govern the routine senate for business. that according to roll call. according to this senior senate democratic aides, there might be some exceptions are honorary resolutions, but the roll call story said democrats seem intent on slowing down the bulk of business. while democrats ask more input from the bill of rights the republican study committee, the largest but conservative members in congress this morning alterations may jeopardize final passage in the house. we'll take you live to the floor of the senate. he senate will come to order, the chaplain, dr. barry black will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, our hope for years
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to come, so much seems to be happening in our nation and world. lord, we pray for those affected by the latest london terror attack, for the families of those killed aboard the u.s.s. fitzgerald, for the police who were attacked in paris and for those recovering from last week's shooting on a baseball field. let your peace stay with us all during these turbulent times. surround our lawmakers with your favor. enable them to see that you will empower them to persevere through every challenge, as they trust you to
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bring them to your desired destination. may they not loose confidence in the power of your everlasting arms as you continue to give them a moral and ethical resilience that will not shrink in the heat of testing. we pray in your great name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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moo madam president. pr mr. mcconnell madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i would like to start by sending our condolences to the families and victims of those in london. our commitment to our friends in europe remains very strong.
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we will continue to stand by you. now, madam president, on another matter, what's happened in the years since obamacare was imposed on our country? year after year, it drove up cost. year after year, it drove down choice. year after year, it continued to literally unravel right before our eyes. it's a trend that continues today and one that will only get use unless we act. just last week we got more evidence of obamacare's failures as the centers for medicaid and medicare services released reports that identified a trend of americans who enrolled on the obamacare exchanges but then canceled their coverage. often these americans didn't even pay their first premium. within a couple of months of
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enrolling, nearly two million people literally dropped out of bawrk. why did so many americans drop their coverage? the reason shouldn't surprise anybody. the most common explanation these americans gave for having canceled their coverage was obamacare's costs. these numbers underline what republicans have been saying all along -- obamacare is collapsing around us and the american people are desperately searching for relief. costs continue to shoot upward, insurance providers are fleeing from the marketplaces across the country, leaving precious few options. it is clear that obamacare just isn't working. in fact, it's not working for millions of americans like those living in nearly 1,400 counties, about 50% of all counties nationwide -- 50% of all counties nationwide who would have zero or just one insurance
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option on the insurance exchanges next year. and, of course, one option isn't really an option at all. these shrinking choices and increased costs under obamacare aren't indications of a new pattern, they are just the latest in what has been a year's long assault on far too many families by this failed health care law. and while this isn't a new trend, it's one that's grown increasingly more unsustainable and one that we must work to change very soon. that's why we've repeatedly called for a different approach to health care. that's why we're working hard to move in a different direction on health care today. for months now the entire senate republican conference has been active and engagerred on legislation -- engaged to move to bring relief to american people. we've had numerous, productive discussions on the way forward. we believe we can and must do
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better than obamacare's status quo. working to the and listening to our constituents, we're focused on the following -- stabilizing insurance markets which are collapsing under obamacare, freeing americans from obamacare's mandates which forced them to buy insurance they don't want, improving the affordability of health insurance, which is spiking under obamacare, strengthening medicaid for those who need it most, and preserving access to care for patients with preexisting conditions. senate republicans will continue working because it's clear that we cannot allow america's health care to continue on its current downward trajectory, taking so many families right along with it. the obamacare status quo is simply unsustainable. the american people deserve relief and we'll keep working to
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provide it.
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mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. the senate is in a quorum call. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. donnelly: i'd like to put it in a quorum call. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call.
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the presiding officer: the majority leader. the senate is in a quorum call. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the vote on executive calendar no. 108 occur at -- tomorrow morning after the reichening -- ripening of the disposition of the long nomination. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection.
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mr. donnelly: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 5:00 p.m. with senator permitted to speak therein up to ten minutes each. mr. schumer: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak under leaders' time. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: thank you. first, madam president, before i begin, i want to express how glad we all were that representative scalise is doing better. over the weekend his condition changed from critical to serious. it seems like he has a ways to go, but we're all happy to hear that the signs are more positive an moving in the right -- and moving in the right direction.
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i would also like to express my heart-felt condolences to the families of those lost in the crash of the u.s.s. fitzgerald. those lost in peacetime -- for now, our prayers are with the families of the self isn't sailors who lost their lives in service to this great country. now, on health care, madam president, we're only two weeks away from the july 4th recess. my friends on the other side we're going to vote on a health care bill before the break. democrats have still not seen the bill. the republican health and human services secretary hasn't seen the bill. the american people have not seen the bill, and i'm sure many republican senators haven't seen the bill either. the white house spokesman
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couldn't even say if the president has seen the bill. now, this is a bill that it would like lie reorder on one-sixth. american economy and have life-and-death consequences for millions of americans. and it's being discussed in secret with no committee hearings, no debate, no amendments, no input from the minority. this is the most glaring departure from normal legislative procedure that i have ever seen. my friend, the majority leader, used to sing the praises of regular order, wax poetic about the wisdom of the committee process and an open amendment process. republicans criticize democrats vehemently for passing the affordable care act with only democratic votes, and that's after we accepted dozens of republican amendments during a robust hearing process. now that the shoe is on the other foot, and republicans are in charge, all those concerns
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and criticisms have disappeared. no committee process, no hearings, nothing. quite the opposite of what they called for five years ago. what gall. why are my republican friends engaging in this legislative process. why are republicans willing to engage in blatant hypocrisy, contradicting all they've said about good procedure in the senate. what are they afraid of? this is there's only one reason why republicans are doing this: they're ashamed of their bill. the republicans are writing their health care bill under the cover of darkness because they're ashamed of it, plain and simple. they're ashamed that the bill will likely cause millions to lose their health care insurance. they're ashamed because it will increase costs for older and sicker americans. all to pass along a big fat tax
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break for the wealthiest among us, the folks who need it least. no wonder they don't want to show anyone the bill. they are ashamed of it. this radical departure from normal procedure on a bill of such consequence leaves the senate minority little choice but to depart from normal procedure as well. starting this evening, democrats will begin objecting to all unanimous consent requests in the committee, save for honorary resolutions. we will seek in as many time was we can to refer the health care bill to committee, where it can be debated and amended in the open for the american people to see. as is their right. and tonight democrats will hold the floor late into the evening in a series of speeches to highlight just how unprecedented this process is. if republicans are not going to allow debate on their bill on the floor or this committee,
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democrats will make opportunities to debate. and these are merely the first steps we're prepared to take in order to shine a light on the shameful trumpcare bill and reveal to the public the g.o.p.'s backroom deal making. of course, there's another way. on friday, i sent a letter to my friend, the majority leader, requesting that we hold an all-senators meeting in the old senate chamber to discuss a bipartisan way forward on health care. we should all share common goals, improving the health care system by lowering costs, raising the quality of care, stabilizinstabilizing the marke. let us sit down together, all 100 of us, and talk about how we can achieve those results together. that option, i is a i to the republican leader -- that option, i say to the republican leader, is on the table, and i hope he won't refuse t but if
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the republicans won't debate their health care in the open for the american people to see, they shouldn't expect business as usual. finally, madam president, on another matter entirely, i continue to be alarmed by the wave of criticism from the far right of special counsel robert mueller. it seems obvious that because mr. murling, one of the most respected and trusted men in washington, is in charge of investigating russian interference in our elections and any other issues that arise out of that investigation, the far right special interest partisans have set out on a disposable campaign to smear -- despicable campaign to smear his character, to muddy the waters of his investigation. i want to real estate mind my colleagues -- i want to remind my colleagues and the american people that there is no one -- no one -- more qualified or more trusted to do this job than robert mueller.
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he spent almost his entire adult life in service to his country. he's decorated veteran of the vietnam war, served as u.s. attorney for 12 years. he was appointed by a republican president, president george bush, to lead the f.b.i. in 20 2001, serving his full ten-year term with distinction, and then he was asked for an additional two years under president obama. now congress had to pass a special waiver to allow him to continuing in his f.b.i. post. the vote was unanimous. every republican, many in this chamber, voted unanimously to ratify robert mueller for another two years asifier -- as f.b.i. director. what a great endorsement. that vote made mr. mueller the longest-serving f.b.i. director since j. edgar hoover, the only to serve under presidents of both parties.
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madam president, mr. mueller represents the best of public service. he will pursue this investigation without regard to politics or pressure of any kind, and that's exactly what america needs. the chorus of extreme commentators and media personalities who seek to curry favor with the president by trying to tear down in man of great integrity are only heaping dishonor on themselves. worse yet, they're trying to discredit our most important democratic institution, the rule of law. these critics know mr. mueller is a straight arrow and many of them said as much when he was appointed. but because he's in a position to examine the president's actions and perhaps take action, they're attacking his character. this is not, my colleagues -- this is not a political game. this is a very serious investigation about foreign
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interference in our elections, something that eats at, that corrodes the roots of our democracy, the very well-spring and -- the very wellstring and being and pride of our nation. the man leading this investigation ought to be trusted by the american people and over the course of his long, distinguished career he has certainly earned that trust. so again, i'd urge that these attacks on mr. mueller be ceased and that my friends on the other side of the aisle join me in defending his reputation. the critics are going much too far here. i yield the floor. and i'd ask the senator from indiana to wait one minute so i might have a word with him.
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the presiding officer: senator from indiana. mr. donnelly: madam president, over the last several months, there's been an important debate about health care, a debate between those to believe we can strengthen the american health care system by improving the affordable health care act and hose those who believe that the law must be repealed and replaced. if you listen closely, however, the question at the heart of both sides of this debate sounds oddly the same. how do we make sure americans have access to quality health care they can afford? it's this shared concern about the affordability of quality health care and the recent
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actions of the trump administration that i'd like to discuss today. so for a moment let's set aside the health care reform debate because whether we agree to work together in a bipartisan way to improve our health care system, as i strongly believe we should, whether reins push through a -- whether republicans push through a partisan proposal to significantly change the way in which americans receive health care, we should all be able to agree that we want to protect the stability of the insurance markets and access to quality, affordable health care. yet, despite this shared objective, protecting the stability of our health care system has not been the approach of this administration. instead, they have done the opposite. they've tried to drive change by creating instability and chaos. on his first day in office, the
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president did not ask how he could fix the affordable care act or improve the health care system. instead, he began a deliberate, strategic effort to undermine the health care system, to drive up costs, and to create a scenario so painful for regular folks that we would have no choice but to rebuild the health care system from scratch. on the day he was sworn in, president trump signed an scif order -- an executive order to exempt, to delay, and to defer the implementation and enforcement of the law. creating instability in the markplaces -- in the marketplaces where millions of americans obtain the coverage they need. the administration canceled enrollment efforts to attract younger and healthier americans into the insurance markets.
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this resulted in an estimated 500,000 fewer americans purchasing coverage. most notably, the administration has refused to commit to continuing critical payments that lower deductibles and co-pays for our families. this drives up the costs for our friends and neighbors and in some states it drives insurance companies out of the market completely. to be fair, though, the president has been straightforward about his strategy to undermine the affordable care act, noting the best thing we can do -- this is a quote -- is to let obamacare explode. let it be a disaster, because we can blame that on the democrats. for the president and many in washington health care seems to
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be a political exercise. i can assure you, for the citizens of my state back home in terre haute, indianapolis, and lawrenceburg and evansville, particularly for those with preexisting conditions -- children, older hoosiers, and people with disabilities -- this is about a lot more. it's about the health and well-being of our loved ones, it's about the financial security of our families, and for many, it's a life and death issue. this week -- this week indiana's insurance companies will submit their proposed health care rates
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for 2018 to the indiana department of insurance. it's the first step in a routine process that are determines how much hoosiers will be paying for critical health care coverage in the coming year. the 2018 filings, however, are likely to be anything but routine. growing evidence across the country shows that the actions taken by the president and the administration, along with legislative uncertainty in congress, have created instability and have created chaos in the insurance markets, resulting in significant cost increases for consumers. let me share just a few examples of what i'm hearing from the insurance companies in my home state of indiana. the president and c.e.o. of care source, an insurer that offers
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plans to hoosiers through the insurance marketplace, told me that at the beginning of this year the company was seeing rates stabilize, and if there was certainty regarding cost-sharing payments, those payments i have previously discussed, rates would increase by 2% -- that's 2% -- in 2018 compared to 2017. now, though, the company is saying that if the administration stops cost-sharing payments and they've refused to making those payments, rates for silver plans would increase by a minimum -- that's a minimum -- of 15%. this is real money and real families, real health care, real life-and-death decisions. the president and c.e.o. said,
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and i quote, in addition we believe that ceasing c.r. payments would potentially lead to future increases in the future years. the chairman and c.e.o. of indianapolis pace anthem -- based anthem said in part, quote, as i have stated publicly over the previous few months without certainty of c.s.r. funding, anthem will have no choice but to reevaluating our approach to 2018 rates. such adjustments could include requesting additional rate increases, eliminating certain product offerings, and or exiting certain individual a.c.a. compliant markets all together. let me be clear, these cost
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increases limits on product offerings, and market exits are not the result of the current law or even the health care system. this is a deliberate choice. they are the result of a deliberate choice by the president to undermine the health care law at the expense of real people, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters. thises makes no sense -- this makes no sense. if your house needs repairs, you don't set the house on fire, you work to fix the issues. if we're serious about improving health care in this country, we can do it and we can do it
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working together. in my home state of indiana, i was proud to work with then-indiana governor and now vice president mike pence when he established the healthy indiana plan or h.i.p., 2.0. it expanded health care coverage to over 200,000 hoosiers and it helped reduce the uninsured rate in indiana by 30% -- 30%. our vice president called this program a national model to provide affordable health care to our most vulnerable citizens and treatment to those struggling with opioid abuse and heroin abuse which is an absolute scourge on our country. ee can improve our health care system -- we can improve our
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health care system by working together, but the first step, mr. president, is to do no harm, to stop doing damage to the current system and to the people who rely on it. health care is not a game. it is life and death. this is about people's health, it is about economic security, and real lives. i hope my republican colleagues and the administration will immediately stop these efforts to damage our health care system and to work with all of us on our shared goal to make quality health care more affordable. there is way, way too much at stake for hoosiers and for all the people in our beloved country. madam president, i yield back, and i note the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: madam president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: i move to proceed to executive session to consider calendar no. 115. broo the question is on the -- the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the motion is agreed to. the clerk will report the nomination. the clerk: nomination, nuclear regulatory commission, christine
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saviniki of virginia to be a member. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, do hereby bring to a close debate on the nomination of christine l. l.civniki. mr. mcconnell: i ask that the needing of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask consent to return to morning business as under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: madam president, the american people have spent the last several weeks hearing that the senate will vote on its new version of trumpcare by the end of the month. it's now june 19 and the
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american people are still in the dark about this bill. there is no text, there is no legislative analysis of this bill, no scoring of what the financial ramifications are, the american people and much of this senate is in the dark -- in the dark about how much costs are going to raise, in the dark about how many people are going to lose insurance, in the dark about whether a preexisting condition will once again be used as a weapon against them by insurance companies. if the news reports are to be believed, and that's all you've got right now, a vote on this massive proposal affecting the lives of virtually all our people is days away.
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no one outside of a group of 13 men, all republicans, knows what is being considered. in my view, this is as stark an example of legislative malpractice as i can remember. it is time for americans to get loud, do their part, and make sure their voices are heard on an issue that is so personal and so vital to our people and their family. if and when this bill hits the floor, the debate is going to go by very quickly, by the standards of the senate it will be over in a flash. so this afternoon i want to be direct with a few key points for those across this country to remember over the next two weeks. first, the republican health care plan is going to raise costs for the typical american. if you're an older person
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nearing retirement, 55, 58, 61, you are going to get hammered with an age tax. you are going to be forced to pay several times as much as a younger person for health insurance. under the house trumpcare bill, 64-year-old seniors of modest means are going to see their premiums shoot up by 800%. i'd like to hear somebody try to explain to a life-long trucker or someone who spent decades cleaning offices to put food on their family's table why that is an improvement in american health care. these are older people who already struggle to make ends meet and they've been told for the last seven years that repealing and replacing the affordable care act is going to lower their health care costs.
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now they face the reality of trumpcare which says that they'll somehow have to spend the bulk of their income on health insurance and in some cases take up nearly all of it. it's not just older people who face this age tax that will see their costs rise. trumpcare cuts middle-class tax benefits for health care that were put in place under the affordable care act, particularly in rural areas. that means premiums are going to be a much bigger burden on typical middle-class families. the republican health plan ends the airtight, loophole free guarantee that protects americans from being discriminated against for a preexisting condition. working adults, po, 40, -- 30, 40, 50 years old who thought they were home free with
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employer-sponsored insurance, under this bill, could once again face system of the worst insurance company abuses, annual and lifetime limits on benefits. one new report says that 27348 americans could get hit by annual limits and 20 million could face lifetime limits. here's what this mean, madam president. if you're a 35-year-old, for example, who develops cancer, you could bust that cap in a hurry. if you have to go through expensive surgeries and chemotherapy, busting those caps could mean that you face decades -- decades -- digging out from medical debts. second, trumpcare is built around a $800 billion attack on medicaid. today medicaid comes with a
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guarantee. if you walk an economic tightrope, are sick or injured, you will get the care you need. you can't be denied benefits. but slashing the program by hundreds of billions of dollars ends that guarantee because states are going to have to cut benefits. the best way to understand the consequences of that plan is to look at seniors who need nursing home care. the medicaid nursing home benefit helps pick up the tab for two out of three nursing home beds in america. because the fact is, growing old in america gets expensive. you can do everything right through a lifetime of hard work, scrimping and saving, putting off vacations or big purchases to be financially prudent, but still a lot of people go through their savings. that's when medicaid steps in for seniors to help cover the cost of nursing homes and other
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long-term care. one year in a nursing home now costs more than $90,000, on average. that's two or three times as much as a year of college education. so if trumpcare slashes medicaid so deeply that seniors are in danger of losing the nursing home benefit, how are families fighting hard to pay their own bills going to be in a position to take care of older loved ones? of course, medicaid does a lot more than cover nursing home care. 37 million kids are enrolled in medicaid, a vital source of support for kids and adults with disabilities. medicaid is the only lifeline that thousands and thousands of americans fighting opioid addiction have to be able to put their lives back together.
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no community anywhere in this country has escaped the opioid epidemic. since medicaid was expanded under the affordable care act, it's been leading the fight against the opioid epidemic by improving access for millions of people to treatment for mental health and substance abuse orders -- disorders. but with the republican plan enormous cuts, thousands of people could lose their best shot to recover from addiction and lead healthy lives. finally, what is especially -- especially -- unfortunate about this legislation is the process for writing this bill. it's being written behind closed doors, no input from across the aisle, and particularly from the american people. madam president, i serve as the ranking member on the senate finance committee, and i can
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tell you, our committee has authority over hundreds of billions of dollars in payments for medicare and medicaid and tax credits. we haven't had any hearings. we haven't seen a bill. there's not the traditional process of a committee markup where you consider legislation. we're also the committee that on a staff level always has tried to work back and forth between democrats and republicans to try to find common ground. but with the majority leader keeping the process locked behind closed doors, chairman hatch and i, along with all of the democrats and most of the republicans on our committee have simply been cut out. back in the run-up to the affordable care act -- the one that president obama was involved in this 2009 -- the
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finance committee held more than 50 hearings, round tables, and we walked through carefully the health reform bill. when the legislation was introduced, it sat online for six days before it was voted on in committee. 564 amendments were posted online. more than 130 amendments were considered during the markup, and more than two dozen republican amendments were ado adopted, and the bill passed on a bipartisan basis. again, madam president, let me highlight it. more than two dozen republican amendments were adopted in the finance committee. as of now, there won't be a single democratic amendment adopted in the finance committee. when the legislation went to the floor, the senate spent 25 consecutive legislative days on health reform, the second-longest consecutive session in history. that's how the legislative process ought to look. the committees do the hard work
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in the open, gather input from the american people, have a chance -- democrats and republicans -- to work together. that's not what's happening on trumpcare. this is a bill that is shrouded in secrecy, and the public is kept in the dark. there aren't gimmick to be any reargues -- there aren't going to be any hearings on the impact it's going to have on the millions of people who rely on medicaid for health insurance. no hearings on what it means if you have all these loopholes in the guarantee of protection now americans have against discrimination for a preexisting condition. no hearing asking how a 64-year-old of limited means is supposed to deal wasn't age tax that swallows up most of their income. when the senate republican health bill hits the floor, there will be a very short debate before time expires and the final votes are cast.
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so i'm going to close, madam president, by saying now is the time for americans to be heard on health care. it is the time for americans to speak out, for those who have a story about how trumpcare will affect their family, you can share it on my website at wyde wyden.senate.gov. or you can use the hashtagamericaspeaksout. i intend to be out here on the floor with my colleagues and many of us will be here in the hours and days ahead. i want to close by saying, political change doesn't start at the top and then trickle down. political change is bottoms up, as americans across the country speak out and speak loudly. now is the time to do that because this debate is coming fast. madam president, with that, i
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would yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. feinstein: madam president, i rise to speak on health care, but i'd like to ask unanimous consent that i be able to conclude my remarks prior to going into scif session. -- into executive session. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much. madam president, i rise today to speak against the republican effort and what it appears to be thus far: to repeal the affordable care act and the process they're using to do it.
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i've just got to say, this is the least transparent process for a major piece of legislation i have seen in my 24 years in the senate. former senate historian don ritchie said that you have to look back before world war i to find another example of such a secret partisan process for passing a major bill. the senate health care bill, in fact, is being written behind closed doors. there's no draft for public review, no democratic senator has seen the bill, republican senators all say they haven't seen the bill either. when republican senators are asked what's in the bill, unless they're the 13 privileged ones, they say they have no idea. everyone except the 13 republicans drafting this bill
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has been excluded. and these 13 senators represent just ten states out of our 50. health experts and health advocacy organizations have been shut out. no one representing doctors, nurses, patients, children, the elderly, hospitals, community clinics, or health plans is able to provide any feedback at all on how the bill would affect people. over the weekend, "the los angeles times" reported that a coalition of more than 15 patient groups, including the american heart association, the march of dimes, and the american lung association, tried to get a meeting with senator mcconnell or his staff and were told no. that's unbelievable. think of it. think of the american heart association, the marc march of ,
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the american lung association asking to meet with either the leader or his staff and somebody says no? do my republican colleagues really believe that groups like the american heart association don't deserve an opportunity to weigh in on a health care bill? when our health care system affects every single person in this country? health care is the last subject that should be addressed behind closed doors, hidden from public view. yet, apparently, republicans intend to bring the bill to the floor without a single hearing. senator mcconnell wants to vote on a bill by next thursday, i'm told. that's ten days from now. well, if there's not going to be a hearing, we shouldn'tvestment i think no hearing, no vote. it's important to point out the
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contrast between what's happening now and our consideration of the affordable health care act -- that's what's known as obamacare. there were 100 hearings, meetings, round tables, and walk-throughs of the bill between the senate financial and the help committees. there were 25 consecutive days and 160 hours of debate on the senate floor. there were 300 help committee amendments, including more nan 160 -- including more than 160 republican amendments. was our process in 2009 and 2010 perfect? no, it wasn't. but it's infinitely better than what's happening now. this process is such an affront to our democratic system of government. take this: senator harris and i represent
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california. we are the sixth-largest economy in the world. we represent more than 40 million people. that's more than 22 other states combined. 14 million californians are covered by the medicaid program. that's the program that the house bill says we're going to stop the funding for. 14 million californians, more people than the entire population of nine of the ten states represented in the secret health care negotiations. four million californians gained health coverage under the affordable care act, more people than the population of four of the ten states represented in the secret negotiations. despite the significant effects of any -- that any health care bill would have on california, both of its senators have been
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shut out. i want to work to improve affordable care. i know there are challenges that we need to address, and i want to be part of the process, but there's no opportunity to do so. if the senate bill is anything like the house bill, the effects would be devastating on my state. if the senate bill is like the house bill, here's what it would do: it would take health care coverage away from 23 million working and middle-class families to finance a tax cut for the richest 5% of americans. this is indefensible. there's no justification for giving millionaires a $50,000 tax break by taking health care away from our most vulnerable citizens. and i don't know of any that are
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asking for it. it's some kind of blighted political agenda that you can leave the elderly and the sick untended and it justifies a $50,000 taxpayer -- tax break for a millionaire. this would end medicaid as we've known it for 50 years by cutting $834 billion. it eliminates protections for people with preexisting conditions. it defunds planned parenthood. it denies all californians and new yorkers -- all of them -- tax credits unless the states change their laws requiring insurance companies to cover reproductive care, including abortion services. it's almost kind of a blackmail provision. i'm going to talk more about the potential changes to medicaid
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known as medicow because it's it's -- medical. everyone needs to understand that the changes go much further than repealing expansion of the program which was a big part of the affordable care act. it's been reported in the media that senate republicans are looking at changes to medicaid that are similar to what's in the house bill. there are rumors that the senate bill would delay the drastic cuts by a few years. but regardless when the program comes, they will be devastated. who does medicaid provide health care to? it's not the wealthy. it's elderly people in nursing homes. it's pregnant women. it's children. it's people with disabilities.
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and it's low-income adults who typically work but don't get health insurance through their jobs. medicaid covers one in three californians. that's 14 million people. it covers one in two children. it covers three out of five nursing home residents, where they say three beds would be lost in each home. it covers one in two people with disabilities. and here's something the american people need to understand about medicaid. the majority of medicaid dollars are spent on elderly people and people with disabilities. they are the most in need and they have the most serious health issues. let me give you one story. a woman by the name of christian from sacramento wrote to us
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about her daughter riley who is autistic. riley is covered by medi-cal. it provides critical services that allow her to lead a more normal childhood. and here's what the mother said. when my daughter riley was born, we quickly learned that she had difficulty with basic tasks like sleeping and eating. she developed pneumonia multiple times. she was continually sick. after turning three, she was diagnosed with autism. she's now eight years old, and she is thriving thanks to medicaided-funded support programs like physical therapy, speech therapy and feeding therapy. she is now verbal, learning to write, and she is reading above grade level. she wouldn't be doing as well if it weren't for medicaid. i am counting on you to protect medicaid.
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end quote. every community in california depends on medicaid. let me give you a few examples. members here of both political parties go to los angeles to raise money. 40% of l.a. county is covered by medicaid. you know how many that is? it's not a half a million. it's not a million. it's not a million and a half. it's not two million or three million. it's four million people that could lose the medicaid funding. 28% of san diego is covered by medi-cal. that's more than 900,000 people. and 37% of sacramento county is covered by medi-cal. that's 56,000 people. and half of fresno county is covered by medi-cal.
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that's a half a million people. i was in fresno just a week ago, and there's a wonderful children's hospital, and the director of that hospital came over to me and was practically in tears. he said we treat 300,000 children up and down this area of the state, and we lose our medicaid, we cannot continue to provide that treatment if that takes place. fresno has 31 assisted living facilities for the sick, for the elderly, and they would lose three out of five beds in that facility. and 27% of san francisco county -- my home county -- is covered by medi-cal. that's 230,000 people. what republicans, we learned, may likely propose would end the
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medicaid program as we've known it for more than 50 years. under current law, the federal government pays a certain percentage of all health care costs for medi-cal beneficiaries. we will likely see a phaseout of the current structure of the program. that would amount to $834 billion cut over ten years, with 14 million people losing coverage nationwide. they'll be in your state, madam president. they'll be in every state on the republican side of the aisle. and i don't know how a civilized society or a senate of the united states could do that to people. the effects of this change could devastate access to health care for our most vulnerable citizens and crush state budgets
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nationwide if they try to replace those funds. bottom line: in my state, by 2027, california would need to find $24 billion to cover those who depend on medicaid for their health care today. now what's going to happen with preexisting conditions? we all know that the obamacare legislation covers preexisting conditions. so if you have breast cancer, you can get coverage, and you could be charged $28,000 more per year if the preexisting condition of breast cancer isn't covered. and it goes on, on and on like this. if you take away coverage for
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preexisting conditions and you have, as we have, 52 million people nationwide, including 6 million in california, that have preexisting conditions today, that will be a big, huge problem for them. let me give you one case. it's a woman from hisfaria, california, and she wrote to us about her son, and he has battled crohn's disease for 20 years, and lisa writes, my son was without insurance for ten years because of his preexisting condition. that's before obamacare. during this time, the disease caused severe damage to his small intestine. he was finally able to get insurance through cover california and receive
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treatment. that's after obamacare passed. he had surgery to remove various blockages and scar tissue that probably saved his life. i am so scared that his coverage may be taken away. how can we do that? sheri from sierra madre, california, wrote about two sons. they both have preexisting conditions. and she says as a single mother of two young men just out of college, each with preexisting conditions, i fear they're not going to be able to afford health care under the g.o.p. plan. one son has lyme disease and requires infusions every three weeks. this is a huge expense that's currently manageable under my health care plan and has been a life saver for him as the lyme
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impacted his immune system. under trumpcare, this treatment would probably not be financially available to him, and that would be devastating. now let me tell you about something that we have found out about. i look at my phone calls, and we get a lot of calls. i know something is serious when we get more than 100,000 calls. and we did on this subject. and these were largely people between the age of 50 and 64, and they weren't in the group market. they were in the individual market, which means you go out to find your own insurance company, and you pay the premium. under the -- under obamacare there was a subsidy for these premiums if you earned under
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400% of poverty. 400% of poverty is about $47,000 a year. so if you earned under $47,000 a year, it was much easier for you to get health care. if that -- if you were at $50,000 a year, you exceed the 400% of poverty. and i am told by covered california that the current premium in my city for someone 50 to 64 would be $800 a month. that's 20% of someone's income. 20% of an annual income. this is where the complaints are coming throughout the united states, and this is where we can make an easy fix. and we have submitted
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legislation, a number of us, to do just that. and what it would do is take the subsidy and instead of going off the cliff at $47,000 a year, so that at $50,000 your premium costs 20% of your income, we put -- we changed it so that that insurance, an individual would not pay more than 9.69% of their income toward the premium. and this is just one example of how we could improve current law and i believe take away one of the biggest criticisms and fix it rather easily. now here's another problem. i'd like to share a story from monica from oceanside,
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california. these are real cases. she was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after gaining coverage through california's individual market. her doctor told her she would have been dead had she not been covered by her new plan. she had cared for her father ten years prior to his death from parkinson's disease. she didn't have access to employer-provided insurance and wasn't eligible for medicaid at the time. by the time the affordable care act was implemented, she qualified for a plan through cover california, and she wrote without the a.c.a., i would not be alive to write this post. i wonder if that means anything to anybody on the republican side of the aisle. no one comes forward, no one says what they would need.
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and this is such a big issue. it affects every single one of us and every single one of our constituents. let me correct something. they say also, well, obamacare is dead, it's imploding. they say this to build support for repealing the law, but they're wrong. in california, which has worked hard to implement the law effectively, the marketplace to buy health coverage functions at a high level. there are 1.5 million people signed up through the website, covered california. enrollments have been stable and there has been no uptick in healthy people h leaving the insurance market. the general consensus among experts is that the federal health care market is not collapsing. standard & poor's said the 2016
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results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the a.c.a. individual market is not in a death spiral. so, please, stop saying that. madam president, in closing, i'd like to just say to my republican colleagues don't do this. don't write a bill in secret. don't take health care away from millions of people to cut taxes for the rich. don't undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions. don't allow insurers to go back to the days of selling junk plans. and don't add in medicaid. we have known it for so long. it's working. it's covering poor and elderly all across this country. those of us on this side of the
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aisle want to make the affordable care act better. we want to work to improve our system. we stand ready to work together on behalf of our constituents. but if our colleagues continue down this path, we will fight this bill with all we have. the stakes are too high not to. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. mr. burr: madam president. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, department of homeland security, brock long of north carolina to be administrator for the federal
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emergency management agency. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will be 30 minutes of debate on the nomination, equally divided in the usual form. mr. burr: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mr. burr: madam president, i rise today in strong support of william b. brock long as the administrator of the federal emergency management agency, and i might add that supposedly in 12 minutes we were going to vote on his confirmation, and unfortunately because of this unbelievable weather throughout the country, we have got members that can't make it back in, so this will roll until 11:00 tomorrow. but brock's a fellow north carolinian, an alumnus of appalachian state university and currently lives with his family in hickory, north carolina. i believe he is an exceptional nominee to lead fema, and he is well prepared to lead the agency as it responds to the disasters, regardless of where they are in this country. when we met in my office a few
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weeks ago, we discussed the ongoing efforts in north carolina to recover from hurricane matthew. many might remember that that was last year, and it affected millions of people from florida to virginia. the storm caused historic flooding in cities and towns across the eastern half of my state. fema was in north carolina before the storm, and agency personnel have been in the state ever since that storm happened. as many in this chamber know, once the camera crews leave, there's a perception by the american people that the disaster's over. the truth is that brock and i both know that isn't the case. even eight months after matthew, there is still over 50 families being housed in local hotels, utilizing fema assistance. it will take years for my state to fully recover. even as the recovery from matthew continues, another hurricane season has already
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begun. if not a hurricane on the east coast, there will be fires, tornadoes, and other natural and man-made disasters that fema will be called to respond to. a key facet in responding to these disasters is the cooperation among local and state emergency management officials, as well as the federal stakeholders led by fema. brock understands why this cooperation is imperative, and he's bringing his own deep knowledge and experience of emergency management to fema. you see, madam president, he began his career with the georgia emergency management agency before moving on to fema region four in atlanta. while at fema, brock was a regional hurricane program manager and hurricane and evacuation liaison team leader. after leaving fema, brock was selected by my good friend,
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governor bob raleigh, of alabama, to serve as the director of alabama's emergency management agency. brock served in that position from 2007 to 2011 where he led the state's efforts to respond to 14 disasters, including eight presidentially declared events. specifically, brock was charged with leading the state's response to the deepwater horizon spill in 2009, a man of immense qualifications and experience. more recently, brock has worked in the private sector where he provided emergency management advice and expertise to his firm's clients. brock also served as the private sector chairman of the national emergency management association. i believe that we must take advantage of an asset in and out of government when preparing for disasters. leveraging the private sector can supplement state emergency
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management agencies with knowledge and expertise that's difficult to build independently when state budgets are tight. brock agrees with this approach and will build on these important partnerships at fema. the combination of his work for fema, state emergency management and the private sector makes brock long well suited for this nomination by the president. because of his experience, brock understands that it is the work done before a storm that saves lives. helping states and cities establish emergency management plans allows funding and assistance to flow almost immediately after the storm has passed. if public officials are developing plans after the storm, it's already too late. in closing, let me say to my colleagues again and reiterate my strong support for brock long and urge my colleagues to vote for his confirmation, especially
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now that we have entered the 2017 hurricane season. it's my hope that the senate will confirm him tomorrow at 11:00 with broad bipartisan support, allowing him to quickly, quickly begin the work of strengthening fema and helping the agency to respond to the disasters yet to happen. i thank my colleagues. i yield back the balance of my time. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sullivan: madam president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are in a quorum call. mr. sullivan: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sullivan: madam president, for the last few months, i have been coming down to the floor to recognize someone in my state who through acts small and large have made the state better for all of us. i call this person our alaskan of the week. i'm going to talk a little bit about baseball as part of the alaskan of the week. and, you know, we saw how important baseball is with regard to a sport that can bring americans together. just last week i think people all across the country, certainly in d.c., certainly here in the senate saw how important that -- we had that great game. democrats and republicans last week coming together. i'm a little biased here that the republican team with senator
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flake and senator rand, we didn't win but it was a good game. and i know we're all still praying for those injured last week, congressman scalise and others. but it's important to see how that great american past time brings us together as a nation. there's many great things about my wonderful state, but in alaska, baseball also brings us together. so i'd like to recognize today one of the many people throughout the state that keep the special institution of baseball alive in alaska. and this gentleman's name is lee jordan. he's from eagle river. mr. president -- madam president, i would venture to guess that most people when they think of alaska, think about our spectacular mountains and glaciers. they might think about fishing, our delicious salmon, thousands of miles of state and federal parks, our vast wilderness.
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but baseball probably isn't the first thing to come to many people's mind when they think about alaska. but actually those who follow baseball understand how important alaska summers are through taking young college students with raw talent and growing them under the midnight sun into seasoned professional baseball players. this is the alaska baseball league, and it is one of the premier baseball leagues in the summer in the united states. let me just give you a few names of those who have come up through the alaska baseball league. it's produced some of the most important major league stars including mark mcguire, barry bonds, tom seaver, dave winfield, and randy johnson, just to name a few. i think those are all hall of famers. alaska's six times -- six-team
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league includes two teams in anchorage, one in fairbanks, one in palmer and one in eagle river, a picturesque area about 20 minutes from anchorage nestled in the mountains. it's part of anchorage by very much its own place with a sense of pride and people who live there like lee. let me tell you a little bit about lee jordan, madam president. leap was originally from -- lee was originally from alabama where football, not baseball, was king. when he enlisted in the army in 1947, his choice of overseas assignments was, according to him, anyplace but alaska. but he got alaska, and he stayed and he loved it. and he settled in eagle river. before long he owned the local newspaper, the "alaska star."
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now the cugiayak eagle river star and coaching his son's little league baseball team. when that got too old for little league, he began to form new leagues for him to play in. when his boys did. eventually his sons got too old for all the leagues but lee kept up the love for the game. then he and former state senator bill staltz, a good friend of mine and another huge booster of baseball in alaska passed a plan to get a team into their area as part of the alaska baseball league. and so the first eagle river chugiak chinook team was formed in 2007 and they have been going strong ever since. madam president, this is such a beautiful place. and right now in alaska every
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year we have a midnight sun baseball game in fairbanks played on june 21, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. that game begins at 10:30 p.m. and goes until the wee hours of the morning under a never-setting midnight sun. but there are few more beautiful places in the world than eagle river chugiak. lee jordan thinks the ballpark is the most beautiful ballpark anywhere and i can't disagree. madam president, as i've mentioned many times on the floor it's all about communities. it's all about communities coming together, and lee has made that happen for alaskans and baseball lovers not only in our great state, but throughout the country. and for that reason, he is our alaskan of the week. i yield the floor.
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: madam president, we have a number of us gathered here this evening because we are so, so appalled -- and that's the word -- by the process that's going on with health care. the idea that we could affect one-sixth of the nation's economy, the life and death, literally, of millions of americans, the whole structure of our health care system affecting doctors and nurses and rural hospital workers, we could do all of that in such darkness, behind such closed doors is the greatest miscartridge -- miscarriage of legislative practice that i have seen since i've been here in the house and senate. we've heard our colleagues when a.c.a. came up talk about an open process. read the bill. my good friend, the leader, will say, well we're going to
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have an amendment process. no, we're not. unless we change reconciliation, we will have a mere ten hours of debate on our side, and then amendments seriatim. for something as important as this, to say that we're having regular order to, say that we're having an amendment process, in all due respect, is a joke. let me go over what happened when we were in charge, to show the complete contradiction. the senate finance committee held more than 50 hearings, democrats and republicans. how many hearings has the senate finance committee had? on this bill? this unknown bill. none. on the house bill, where they're using the house bill, as i understand it, as a model. none. a markup, eight days. can we get any commitment from our friends on the republican side that we'll have eight days of markup in the finance
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committee when their bill is ready? i doubt it. 130 amendments were considered. 130. two dozen republican amendments were agreed to all in committee process. and then a bill went to the help committee. 47 bipartisan hearings, round tables and walk throughs. they considered nearly 300 amendments dearing the 13 -- during the 13-day markup. that was one of the longest in history, as it should have been on such a major bill. 160 republican amendments. our ranking member on the finance -- on the help committee couldn't be here because of plane delays, but she will augment that when she gets here. the senate finance committee posted its legislation online for six days before markup. i would ask rhetorically if my friend, the majority leader, if when his bill is ready, is it going to be posted for six
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days prior to debate or markup? are the american people, are doctors, are nurses, are patients, are the cancer care groups going to get a chance to see it? i doubt it. it's not what it seems like. the senate spent 25 consecutive days in session on health care reform. again, i would ask my friend, the leader, rhetorically, how many days are we going to spend on it under reconciliation? so, my friends, this is a travesty. why are -- ask yourself america, why are our republican colleagues rushing through a bill in the dark of night? i'll tell you why. they don't want you, mr. and mrs. american, to know about this bill. they don't want you to see that it cuts health care for millions. they don't want you to see that it will reduce opioid treatment.
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they don't want you to see that it will hurt people in nursing homes. they don't want you to see that millions will lose coverage, and many more will get such minimal coverage that it won't help them unless, god forbid, they get the most serious of illnesses. that's what they don't want you to see. they're not going to get away with it because we know one thing. even if the senators don't get to see the bill, and even if the leader, who is a very good political person, gets 51 votes, the american people will then see the bill. and they will be aghast. they will wonder why they believed president trump's promises that costs would go down and benefits would go up. they will wonder why they believed the promises that he would not cut medicaid,
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medicare, or social security. it's no consolation to us, but our republican friends -- house, senate, white house -- will reap the whirlwind. it would be better for them, for them to debate the bill in open process, even if they keep all their votes, because people will learn about the bill. when you do a bill in the dark of night, things happen that no one knows about. there are unintended consequences that only a thorough vetting can reveal. when you do things in the dark of night, there are individual accommodations that are made that are going to look ugly when they become public. so the only consolation we on this side have, small consolation that it is, is the political blunder that our colleagues on the other side of
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the aisle are making. it will not serve them well. and i'd plaik -- make one more point. why are they doing this, you ask? why are they being so irrational? hurting people, doing it in the dark of night. one reason. we know who the paymaster is here. we know who the motivator is. the the handful of wealthy americans who will get a huge tax break benefiting from taking away the dollars of health care from millions of average americans. that's what's really run the other side of the aisle. i had hopes that it wouldn't run donald trump. he didn't campaign like that, but it's running him, too. that's the reason and the only reason. we will fight hard to prevent this bill from occurring.
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we will use the procedural means we have small as they might be. we will. and it's small consolation to us again that our republican colleagues will pay such an awful price to help their wealthy donors. but, mr. president, madam president, maybe it's not too late. maybe the leader, maybe some of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle will say as much as they might disagree with the a.c.a. to have a process in the dark of night is wrong, we would welcome a discussion. that's why we wrote the leader and asked him to have a session, a session in the old senate chamber where democrats and republicans without press, without anything else could talk to each other. maybe he'll reconsider his rejection of that.
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so i'd ask the -- i'd make a few parliamentary inquiries. first, is the chair aware of the number of consecutive days in session and the number of hours that the senate considered h.r. 3590, the patient protection and affordable care act? the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office notes that h.r. 3590 was considered on each of 25 consecutive days of session and the senate library estimates approximately 169 hours in total consideration. mr. schumer: 25 days of consecutive session on a bill that was partisan in the sense that republicans were angry with it, but we still had the courage to have a debate on the floor, the courage of our conviction. second parliamentary inquiry. is the chair aware that a 25-consecutive day period of session ranked second in terms
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of the longest periods of consecutive session in the history of the u.s. senate? the presiding officer: yes, the chair is aware of that. mr. schumer: again, when the shoe was on the other foot, we democrats knowing we'd take brickbats, knowing there would be criticism, but for the good of the process and the good of the country we're willing to have debate, hearings, amendments. unless there's a dramatic change and i am misreading where my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going, they're not going there. so, madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent that no motion to proceed to calendar number 120, h.r. 1628, the american health care act until the bill has been subject -- sorry. i read that wrong. i'll read it again. i ask unanimous consent that no motion to proceed to calendar
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number 120, h.r. 1628, the american health care act, until the bill has been subject of a public hearing in the committee on finance. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: madam president, reserving the right to object. i remember full well seven years ago. senator reid was the majority leader. we are called into session the monday after thanksgiving and we stayed here seven days a week until christmas eve. so why did we stay in session seven days a week from the monday after thanksgiving until christmas eve? our democrat friends didn't want anybody to go home. they didn't want anybody go home and have to explain what they were in the process of writing in the majority leader's office. so i think it's pretty safe to say this is -- this subject has
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been very partisan from the beginning. not a single republican voted for the bill. and our friends on the other side have made it perfectly clear no democrats will be voting to replace it. so through that process, our colleagues on the other side had 60 votes at the time. obamacare was imposed on our country. over the last seven years we've all witnessed and debated its many failures. over the last seven years republicans have offered ideas on a better way forward. over the last seven years democrats have worked to from he vent -- to prevent congress from acting fnlgt it's the basic -- acting chght it's the same basic die familiar iblg. obamacare continues to collapse. republicans are working to implement better ideas. democrats are trying to prevent
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congress from acting. so i regret that democrats announced their intention early on that they didn't want to be a part of a serious bipartisan process to move past the failures of this law. congress still has a responsibility to act and the reconciliation process will allow us to do so. and later after that period in late 2009, our democratic friends used reconciliation to force obamacare on americans. it's a process they -- it's a process that can be used in 2017, the same one they used in 2010, to move beyond its failures. so i would remind colleagues of what happens when legislation comes to the floor under reconciliation. now, the majority leader is somehow arguing the reck sill imraition is not an open process. it's an open process. there are an unlimited number of
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amendments. first bill tax is received. then a c.b.o. score issue ised. members will have time to review both. after that there's an open amendment process and a robust debate. it's the one type of amendment we have on the floor of the senate that no one can prevent amendments on. and ultimately at end of the process, the senate votes. that's how reconciliation works. we've been debating obamacare's failures and what to do about them for so many years now, members are very, very familiar with this issue. we've heard so many anguished stories from constituents who have been hurt by obamacare. thankfully at the end of the process the senate will have a chance to turn the page on this failed law. i object. mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. mr. schumer: madam president, i heard what the leader had to say. i think anyone who observes the reconciliation process knows
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it's not a robust process. there are ways to correct that. and certainly we have our differences pretty much on partisan lines between repealing a.c.a. or rather amending it and making it better. but what we ought to be doing is discussing it with one another. so i would renew my request to the majority leader. what is the harm in us gathering in the old senate chamber, a hundred senators, democrats and republicans, and trying maybe to come together? is there any harm? and i would renew my request that he join us in that because what the american people clamor for is some kind of bipartisan coming together. we have different views on how that should occur. you say repeal. join us in repeal. we think that would hurt millions of people. we say make it better. you say a.c.a. is irretrievable. i don't agree. but why can't we join together,
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a hundred strong, in the senate chamber, no press, just discuss our views with one another and maybe something bipartisan and helpful could come out of this instead of this dark, hidden process? so i would renew my request to the leader. mr. mcconnell: madam president, i would say to my friend we're going to have a meeting on the senate floor, all hundred of us with an unlimited amendment process. so there will be no failure of opportunity everybody to offer an opportunity, to get a vote on it, to try to change the law. that's the way reconciliation works. mr. schumer: i'll just renew my request for one other -- the leader said no. i get it. one more. will we have time, more than ten hours since this is a complicated bill, to review the bill? will it be available to us and the public more than ten hours
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before we have to vote for it? mr. mcconnell: i think -- mr. schumer: since our leader has said, our republican leader, that there will be plenty of time for a process where people can make amendments. you need time to prepare those amendments. mr. mcconnell: i think we'll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill. mr. schumer: will it be more than ten hours? hoip i think we'll have ample opportunity to read and amend the bill. mr. schumer: i rest my case. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: madam president, as a senior member of the united states senate finance committee which held more than 50 hearings, round tables and walk threws on health reform, we spent eight days just marking up the bill in committee who considered more than 130 amendments, more than two dozen republican amendments being agreed to at that time in the committee, a committee that posted their legislation online
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for six days before the original committee markup, a committee that spent then with the senate 25 consecutive days in session, 25 consecutive days in session on health reform, the second longest consecutive session in the history of the united states senate. in total the senate spending more than 160 hours considering the health care reform legislation. based on that, madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that no amendments be considered in order to calendar number 120, h.r. 1628, the american health care act until the bill is referred jointly to the committee on finance and the committee on health, education, labor, and pensions and reported favorably from the committee. this means no hearing, no bill. the presiding officer: is
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there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: parliamentary inquiry. i 300 amendments were considered and of those 161 amendments offered by republican members of the committee were adopted during the consideration of s. 1679. is that record? the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office through the senate library cannot confirm the total number considered but can confirm that 161 republican amendments were adopted. mr. schatz: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that calendar number 120, h.r. 1628 be referred to the committee on finance for the purpose of conducting a public hearing. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. booker: i have a parliamentary inquiry. am i correct in stating that the texts of s. 1796 and s. 1679 were posted on the websites of their respective committees, were posted on the websites of their respective committees, each of them actually for six days prior to committee consideration? the presiding officer: the secretary of the senate's office through the senate library confirms that each committee posted its legislation online for six days prior to consideration. mr. booker: well, with the hope for regular order, with a hope for committee process, hope for transparency, a hope for a chance for the senate to work as it was intended, i would like to ask for unanimous consent that no motion to proceed to calendar
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number 120, h.r. 1628, be order until the bill has been the subject of executive session meetings in the committee on finance during which amendments from the majority and minority received votes and the bill has been favorably reported from the committee. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: the objection is heard. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. ms. duckworth: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that it shall not be in order in the senate to consider h.r. 1628 or any amendment offered to h.r. 1628 unless the director of the congressional budget office certifies that h.r. 1628 or any amendment offered to the bill will not cause a single veteran to lose health insurance coverage as a result of the bill's medicaid cuts, potential loss of marketplace tax credits for veterans, or removal of critical patient protections.
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the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. mcconnell: i object. the presiding officer: objection is heard. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: madam president, this past friday when i was back in pennsylvania, i had the opportunity to meet a family that i've referred to very often on the floor, the simpson family.and their son is on the you a tism spectrum. i have talked -- you a -- autism. we have the beginnings of a debate of what will be in the senate bill if one emerges and i think if -- if we're going to be up front about what happens to families and individuals like roan, it would be important to know what happens to a family

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