Democrats on Monday were planning a day and night of protesting against the secretive process Republicans are using to repeal and replace Obamacare.
According to a Senate aide, Democrats plan to debate healthcare on the floor late in a series of speeches that are expected to go late into the night. They were also expected to make a series of unanimous consent requests to force the House-passed healthcare bill to committee, which will obligate Republicans to work on the bill in a more public setting.
Democrats planned to make several parliamentary inquiries to highlight the differences between the way Obamacare was passed in 2010 and how a healthcare bill is being worked on now, and also planned to object to all unanimous consent requests in the Senate. Honorary resolutions, however, such as one honoring the victims of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, last week that targeted Republican lawmakers, may be allowed through.
Democrats are using this strategy in part because they do not have enough votes to block passage of a Senate bill. Still, Republicans have only a narrow margin to work with. They are choosing to pass the healthcare bill through budget reconciliation, which requires only 50 votes rather than the 60 typically required.
Because Republicans hold only a narrow margin in the Senate, they can afford to lose no more than two votes from their members, assuming a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.
Republicans are aiming to pass a healthcare bill by the Fourth of July, and are working to write their own version to the House-passed American Health Care Act. Democrats have blasted the GOP for holding its healthcare talks behind closed doors, rather than in open hearings, and pointed to projections in a Congressional Budget Office report showing that the American Health Care Act would result in 23 million more people being uninsured by 2026.
Susan Ferrechio contributed to this report