The Senate Republican heading the Affordable Care Act negotiations to dismantle Obamacare, expressed concern Tuesday on the “secrecy” surrounding the process. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) said that he had not seen the proposal, set for release on Thursday.
Senate GOP leaders have set a timeline to vote next week on legislation to repeal significant portions of the Affordable Care Act, despite not appearing to have secured enough support to pass it.
GOP aides and others within the fray of negotiations shrouded in secrecy—anticipate the release of the Senate bill’s text later this week. A vote could potentially be held next Thursday before lawmakers disperse.
The CBO estimate of the Senate bill’s impact on the federal budget and insurance coverage is expected to be released early next week.
Senator Mike Lee—Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
“I haven’t seen it yet, either,” said Senator Mike Lee of Utah amid complaints by other Republicans that they don’t know what’s in the health-care measure being drafted by their own party’s leaders.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to release a “discussion draft” Thursday and that it will go to the Senate floor for a vote “likely next week.”
Senator Lee posted a video on his Facebook page, criticizing the process of drafting the measure while speaking to his constituents about their concerns—further stating that he should be able to see the health care bill first before voting on it.
“Even though we thought we were going to be in charge of writing a bill within this working group, it’s not being written by us,” Lee said. “It’s apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate. So if you’re frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration. I share it wholeheartedly.”
At least half a dozen Senate Republicans say they’re not sure they can support the measure.
“I’m very eager to see the language,” Senator Susan Collins of Maine told reporters in Washington, adding that she’s concerned about the possibility of a vote on the Obamacare repeal measure next week. “I don’t think it gives enough time to thoroughly analyze the bill, but we’ll see when it comes out.”
Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania also said they’re withholding judgment.
Arizona Republican John McCain asked whether he’s seen the bill, said, “No, nor have I met any American that has. I’m sure the Russians have been able to hack in and gotten most of it.”