Senate Democrats held an almost four-hour talk-a-thon on Monday night to protest the newest GOP bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare before a potential vote next week.
A bill, spearheaded by GOP Senators Bill Cassidy (La.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), to repeal a lot of ObamaCare is gaining momentum as Republicans face an end-of-the-month deadline to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a simple majority.
The Democratic floor protest ran for nearly four hours, kicking off at 6:51 p.m. with a speech by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and wrapping around 10:40 p.m.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) blasted the effort to repeal, saying it wasn’t “more reasonable” or “more moderate” than the failed attempt in July.
“It’s just another version of the same old cruel, heartless, shameless plan that Republicans have spent the last eight months trying to jam down the throats of the American people,” she said from the Senate floor.
Cassidy-Graham is just another version of the same old heartless “health care” plan the @SenateGOP have tried to jam down our throats.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 18, 2017
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), quoted baseball player “Yogi” Berra, noting that it’s “deja vu all over again.”
“We’ve been through this conversation. We’ve been through the Ted Cruz fake insurance bill. … [Help] drive a stake through this health care monster,” he said.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said the debate over the Graham-Cassidy health care bill is a “moral moment” and a “call to the conscience of our country.”
“We face a time of jeopardy. Decision point. A cross roads … of our values, a cross roads of our ideals,” he said. “The decisions made here are not always easy.”
In addition to Merkley, Warren, Durbin and Booker, Democratic Senators Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) talked from the floor.
“I want to be clear, this Cassidy bill will flunk the Jimmy Kimmel test of not hurting kids in America with pre-existing conditions,” Wyden said.
Murphy, finishing the Democratic speeches, argued that the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill was the “meanest version of TrumpCare yet.”
“Kids are going to die if they don’t have access to healthcare,” Murphy said. “If 20 million people lose insurance … thousands of people won’t be able to survive.”
The CBO hasn’t estimated yet how many people would lose their health insurance under the Graham-Cassidy bill. The agency estimated before that 22 million people could become uninsured under the previous GOP bill.
Murphy mentioned that as a member of the Senate’s Health Committee he’s been working on a bipartisan deal that will try to stabilize health insurance markets.
“What a great trick Republicans will have pulled on this country. Everybody said that the repeal bill was dead; that we were going to move on to a bipartisan process,” he said. “What a great head fake that would be if it was all a lie. If it was all a ruse.”
The speeches come floowing Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) warning that Democrats were “going to look at every possible way to slow this bill down.”