According to Bloomberg News‘ Sahil Kapur, Senate Democrats plan to use various procedural methods to fight the passage of the American Health Care Act, or “Trumpcare” as it’s come to be known.
One such method at the Democrats’ disposal–and which they intend to use–is objecting to every GOP request for “unanimous consent” going forward. Unanimous consent is a process whereby a specific rule of Senate procedure is ignored in order to move proceedings along faster. If even one Senator objects, however, then that request is denied. A very common process in a body governed by arcane and myriad procedural rules, its elimination is likely to slow the Senate’s business down considerably.
Even in most hyperpartisan times, UC is regularly granted for small things. Routinely denying means wasting heaps of time on recorded votes.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 19, 2017
Kapur notes that Democrats plan to proactively use unanimous consent requests themselves in order to try and force Trumpcare discussions over to a Senate committee where public hearings can then be held. GOP leaders in the Senate had not planned to hold public hearings on the bill, a move which has been highly criticized by Democrats and other supporters of Obamacare.
A document provided to Kapur by a senior Democratic Senate aide acknowledges that the overall strategy for Senate Democrats is to keep delaying votes as a means to publicly force the Republicans to defend their “no hearings strategy”.
Other methods the Democrats are likely to use include issuing parliamentary requests to contrast the Obamacare passage debate with Trumpcare’s lack of debate and giving long-winded speeches on the Senate floor discussing health care.
LawNewz.com spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer‘s press office in an attempt to confirm Kapur’s reporting and clarify whether Senate Democrats plan to exhaust every procedural method at their disposal. A response has been promised and this piece will be updated when the Senator’s office responds.
To be sure, there’s nothing guaranteed in the Democrats’ strategy here, but as the minority party, they are aiming to inflict maximum political damage on their opposition in the hopes of flipping at least three GOP Senators in a last-ditch effort to salvage what’s left of Obamacare.
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