Democrats catch a cab in search of the GOP health care bill

Democrats catch a cab in search of the GOP health care bill
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 20, 2017

Three senators hopped in a taxi Tuesday afternoon to go find Senate Republicans' health care bill.

No, there's no punchline.

Democratic Sens. Corey Booker, Chris Murphy, and Brian Schatz hosted a three-part Facebook Live "field trip" to the Congressional Budget Office. Booker served as the group's videographer as they set out to illustrate the difficulty of obtaining a copy of the American Health Care Act.

"We're actually going down to see if we can get the Republican health care bill," Booker explained to the driver from the passenger seat, adding: "We're United States senators, we're going to have a vote within days, and we just don't have a copy of the bill."

The senators used the car time to compare the ratification process for Obamacare to the ACHA's process so far.

Schatz contended that while the Affordable Care Act may have been controversial, it was transparent: There were hearings and amendments. Murphy, who was serving his first term during Obamacare ratification, reflected on the long process.

"We had exhaustive committee processes. We considered hundreds of amendments in the Senate and the House. The Senate debated the bill for 25 days," Murphy said.

Republicans accused Democrats of the same kind of backroom deal-making seven years ago when they were working on Obamacare.

Sen. John McCain, when asked by CNN's Manu Raju on Tuesday if he was satisfied by the current process, said no.

"We used to complain like hell when the Democrats ran the Affordable Care Act," he said. "Now we're doing the same thing."

In the back of the cab, Murphy reminisced about how many Republican amendments were incorporated into the bill's final version in both the House and Senate. Schatz told the more than 90,000 viewers watching live to expect a "vote-a-rama" when the Senate finally presents the bill, planned for next week.

Schatz said he suspects Senate Republicans will try to push through their own version without amendments -- but the Democratic lawmakers said they hope some of their Republican colleagues will insist on bipartisanship.

"We only need three Republicans to say, 'stop this,'" Booker said.

Halfway through the broadcast, the senators hopped out of the taxi, tipped the driver, and turned off the live feed while attempting to find the building where the CBO actually is located.

They resumed the live feed after coming back from speaking off-camera with CBO Director Keith Hall, who they said could neither provide the Senate bill's score nor confirm that the CBO is working on it.

"This really is an exercise in the absurd," Booker said.