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tv   Senate Democratic Leaders Brief Reporters  CSPAN  June 20, 2017 6:50pm-7:07pm EDT

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time to take a look at it. i think this will be about as transparent as it could be. no transparency would have been with having hearings in which democrats offered and the single-payer system amendments. that is not what this republican senate was to do. it's going to have a profound positive improvement over the status quo. the status quo is simply unsustainable. as all of our members appointed out. to ignore the status quo is imploding is to ignore reality. we think we can do better than that and we fully intend to. [inaudible] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> they are all surrounding john finn the casilla is a copy of the health care bill in his pocket. anyway, i want to thank my colleagues senators shaheen kuntz schatz and heinrich for joining me here today. last night senate democrats held the floor well into the night to press republicans on their plan to pass the health care bill. a health care bill that no one in america has seen without holding a single committee hearing or a robust debate on the floor. in my entire career in politics i have never heard of a more radical or more reckless process and to boot senator mcconnell basically confirmed to me last
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night in a discussion on the floor that he is planning to allow only 10 hours of total debate time for democrats on the bill that what affects one in six of our economy and the lives of millions of americans. i think president trump summed up his health care bill passed with one word, mean. last week at lunch at the white house with republican senators the president reportedly told them that he thought the house passed health care bill was mean for once on the topic of health care my colleagues and i find ourselves agreeing with the president, this bill is mean, very mean. his health care bill was mean, cutting medicare to the bone is mean, cutting treatment for opioid abuse is mean, cutting support for families with someone in a nursing home is mean, allowing insurers to once again discriminate against americans with pre-existing conditions is mean, charging
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older americans as much as five times more for their health care is mean and passing a law that would cause millions of americans to lose health insurance in order to give a tax break to the super wealthy is pretty much the textbook definition of a mean bill. apparently the president thinks so too. now republicans shouldn't feel like this mean bill cooked up in secret is their only option. for starters if they were actually serious about improving the american health care system they would stop sabotaging the marketplace and threatened to stop the critical cost-sharing payments which helps keep deductibles and premiums down. senator mcconnell keeps talking about they have to step in because obamacare is having problems. he's creating the problems he and president trump by not making permanent cost-sharing
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and by discouraging people from signing up. the president and republicans instead should guarantee that cost-sharing payments will be made permanent and stop trying to switch the blame away from their mean bill. they have the power to keep premiums down and they are purposely sabotaging, sabotaging the health care system just to try to get a mean bill pass. second we have invited our republican friends to meet us in the old senate chamber to discuss a bipartisan way forward on health care. we then released a list of all 31 rules where they can hold formal senate committee hearings , plenty of room. those rooms are waiting with open arms for the republicans to walk in and have a hearing. unfortunately the republicans seem less interested in working across the aisles to address our nation's most pressing issues and more interested in rushing through president trump's main
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health care bill in the dead of night. senator shaheen. >> thank you. i share the concerns that senator schumer could hear these concerns when i talk to people in new hampshire. it is outrageous that we have won six of our economy being written in secret in the health care bill by 13 men and nobody else in the senate can be part of those deliberations. i was here when they pass the affordable care act. i remember we had almost 100 hearings and roundtables. we had 20 days of one of the longest sessions ever in the history of the senate. we had the longest markup in the finance committee in many years and people had a chance to weigh in. we had republican amendments. by contrast the process is both shameful and shameless. shameful because the american people are being shut out in their democracy and shameless because the republican leadership seems to have no
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qualms about ignoring the voices of the american people. i hear from frequent providers in new hampshire that if medicaid is reduced dramatically which is what we think they are talking about it will have a huge impact on the heroin in opioid epidemic in the ability people to get treatment. i hear from women who fear they are going to lose access to their health care with the defunding of planned parenthood. i hear from others who are worried about whether their kids with pre-existing conditions can still get coverage. the people of new hampshire and the people of this country have a right to know what republicans are doing behind closed doors. this is a life or death situation for many americans and i was in the city of rochester on monday morning meeting at a hospital with frequent providers in one of the doctors expressed the frustration i've heard from people throughout new hampshire. she said to me do you mean they they are not even going to have
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a hearing on this bill and i had to tell her sadly, no there is no hearing planned. senator kuntz. >> thank you senator shaheen that i'm hearing the same thing in delaware that she's hearing in new hampshire which is cries of concern and anxiety from parents, from children, from employers and families not knowing what will be in the republican health care bill. we now just heard from leader mcconnell that there may be a big reveal next thursday but this is much more akin to a reality tv show revealed that the legislative process that should produce a serious and thorough bill that will remake health care in america. senator shaheen mentioned in the process of producing the affordable care act there were a remarkable number of hearings. lots of my constituents have not forgotten that record and we rely on the media to help set this record straight. some of our colleagues are saying that the process that produced the affordable care act was also secretive and behind
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closed doors and nothing could be further from the truth. the senate inez committee held more than 50 hearings roundtables and detailed reviews of the bill publicly. they spent eight days marking up the legislation in committee during which they consider more than 130 events. there were in the health committee 47 hearings and more than 147 amendments and republican amendments were accepted in both of these committees. that's a far cry from the dark of night behind closed doors we are ashamed of this bill process being followed by the republicans. why might that be the case? because they can't meet the promises made by president trump on the campaign trail. he made a a few promises and i quote we are going to have insurance for everybody. lower numbers, much lower to the devils and much less expensive and more benefits. i don't think that without a hearing we can no and without a
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market we can no the legislative process will produce those results. in fact i'm fairly confident it won't. doesn't have to be this way. our entire caucus sent a letter to our republican colleagues saying join hands with us and work together to approve the challenge of the affordable care act as senator schumer said. the failures of some of the caught sharing divisions is what is driving up costs in my state and others. we could be finding a bipartisan path together but instead a republican colleagues are choosing to pass an important bill that they develop behind closed doors and they will only release at the last moment. folks this is not the way to fix what ails american health care. thank you. senator schatz. >> thank you for a little more on process. you have 13 men and no women. you have her teen republicans, no democrats. you have 13 members of the
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senate, no expertise, no experts , no hearings. it is not as though we haven't found time for hearings on other matters. in 2017 the senate has had hearings on self-driving cars, multimodal shipping but it no time for even a single hearing on health care. now to the policies. tens of millions of people will lose their insurance. there's an estimated 1 million jobs lost by the year 2026. nursing home residents and new moms will be left without help to pay their high bills. women will be blocked from health care to planned parenthood. so it will just take one simple thing. it will just take three members of the senate on the republican side to say i will vote for a bill if there is no hearing.
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you can keep your powder dry and decide how to vote after the public hearing process but it is not too much to ask, it is not such a profile in courage to ask three members of the senate on the republican side to insist on a hearing on a bill that will impact one sixth of the american economy. ..
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>> people are hospitalized foros and inpatient care last in this country. it is an overwhelming epidemic. the foundation for treatment of opioids is medicaid, like they can hang the prettiest windows on a house with a crumbling foundation that they want. if you don't have medicaid well-funded to be able to do with the opiate epidemic, and you cannot deal with the opiate epidemic. we are going to see hospitals i gave up higher reimbursement rates, close down if they don't have the funding for medicaid. no one is talking about going back to the reimbursement rate that we have before the aca which were higher for hospitals and higher for rural hospitals, they were keep that money and cut medicaid. that's what the proposal looks like. so i have to say, the most
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frustrating thing about the process is everyday constituents are calling my office coming up to me in the streets and new mexico scared to death about what is in this bill yet we don't even have a bill we can point to to say exactly what it will look like. i've never seen a legislative process like this. if there is ever an indication that the way we do things in washington d.c. is broken, this is the biggest departure from regular order that i have ever seen in the decade i have been here. it's incredibly scary, disappointed. >> one more point here, i have asked leader mcconnell one question. he says there will be a bill available on thursday, to whom? to us? to the american people? to the nurses, doctors and
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workers in healthcare? who is going to be able to see the bill on thursday? we don't know the answer. [inaudible question] >> the bottom line is that we have sent many letters that say just the opposite. we want to make obama care better. sit down with us and figure out how. they have insisted on repeal even though they never had a repeal plan. repeal causes such huge damage as only 18% of americans are for it. he should sit down with us with no preconditions if he wants to talk. we are ready to do that. >> never sought out negotiations or our opinions. just decided to do this in the dark of night. it's amazing that most of their republican members don't know what the bill is about either and why.
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they are shamed. i would be ashamed if i had this bill and they are shamed. [inaudible] >> i would say that the onus is on the republicans. they have the presidency, the house and the senate. the onus is on them to do the debt ceiling. if they're going to put on the table a massive tax cut for the very wealthy that increases the deficit by trillions, it's harder to get democrats to increase the debt ceiling. [inaudible question]
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>> there are over oh please, no, that is just wrong. there are over 170 amendments offered, many in committee, finance, and health. many on the floor and open debate. there is unlimited debate. it is night and day. >> we will see if there is a conference committee but the more openness the better. i would want to televise. >> we will have to wait and see. this process -- it has been hard to look at future speculative proposals. >> made public -- >> i would assume that once the public sees this bill

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