June 16 (UPI) — Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer asked Republicans to join Democrats in a a session of all 100 senators to discuss the GOP’s healthcare overhaul.
Democrats have complained the Republican effort is being done behind closed doors, intended to produce a bill without public knowledge of the process or debate, and without any input from Democrats.
Republicans have countered that members of their healthcare working group, which is drafting the legislation, have been available for questions, though their internal deliberations have taken place entirely behind closed doors.
“The U.S. Senate has long been considered the world’s greatest deliberative body and, as members of that body, we should each support open and robust debate,” Schumer wrote to McConnell on behalf of Democrats. “That is why we are dismayed at reports that there will be no public hearings on your proposed changes to the American healthcare system.”
Schumer’s letter was first reported by Politico.
McConnell has thus far resisted calls by Democrats and outside groups to open up high-stakes negotiations between Republicans. Increasingly, rank-and-file members of McConnell’s own caucus have begun to complain about the secrecy surrounding the group’s work. Both Sens. Lisa Murakowski, R-Alaska, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., have expressed frustration with the GOP healthcare overhaul publicly earlier this week.