Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill blasted the Republican Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, charging Republicans with working to secretly draft and pass their ObamaCare repeal bill. She decimated Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) for refusing to allow any Democratic input or amendments to the legislation, and for refusing to even hold any hearings before pushing it to the floor with the goal of passing it with "50 votes and the vice president."
McCaskill, a centrist Democrat from Missouri and former prosecutor, opened by asking Chairman Hatch, "will we have a hearing on the health care proposal?"
"I think we've already had one," Hatch curiously responded.
McCaskill corrected the senior Senator from Utah, saying she was referring to the bill the Republican Senate is drafting in response to the House's TrumpCare legislation that passed last month.
Hatch, pausing and seemingly confused, was forced to have an aide step up to the dais and whisper in his ear a response for him to share. She clearly could be heard in his microphone, and he repeated much of what she offered.
Acting as if he had not just been told what to say, Hatch, the longest-serving Republican Senator in U.S. history, told McCaskill, "I don't know if there's going to be another hearing but we've invited you to participate and give your ideas."
That is false, and McCaskill took the opportunity to make clear just how offensive his claim is.
"No, no, that’s not true, Mr. Chairman. Let me just say, I watched carefully all of the hearings that went on on the Affordable Care Act. I was not a member of this committee at the time, although I would have liked to be," Sen. McCaskill told the Chairman. "Senator Grassley was the ranking member. Dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted in that hearing process. And when you say that you’re 'inviting us' — and I heard you, Mr. Secretary, just say we’d love your support — for what?"
"We don’t even know! We have no idea what’s being proposed. There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. There were no hearings in the House."
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