House Republicans are working hard on writing a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. On Thursday word spread that an important and a major chunk of their health care legislation was being held for House GOP review in a secret room somewhere in the Capitol complex. When Democrats and Republicans found out that they hadn’t been invited to the review, they went on a treasure hunt to find the secret room. Rand Paul, Senator and Kentucky Republican, was the first on the scene of the supposed secret location.
Sen. Rand Paul stood outside the door of a room with a gaggle of reports and said, “It’s the secret office of the secret bill.” Rand was denied access to the room by 4 security guards and staff aide. Sen. Paul used the moment to hold an impromptu press conference about legislation transparency.
“I suspect public pressure will make them release it,” he said. To disappointment, it turned out, the bill wasn’t being hidden there. Instead of finding the bill, behind the doors was House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).
In which Rand Paul shows up at the apparently secret Obamacare repeal bill’s reading room with a COPY MACHINE.
“We didn’t get to use it” pic.twitter.com/PnNvKTWgFg
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 2, 2017
Still in search for the bill House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland went in to inspect a room and came out about 30 seconds afterward.
“No bill here. We cannot find the bill,” Hoyer said.
— arit john (@aritbenie) March 2, 2017
On Wednesday one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said that House Republicans would soon be allowed to review the healthcare overhaul plan. There would be a dedicated reading room, but copies wouldn’t be given out for them to take with them. Republican leaders are trying to avoid a leak of the revised healthcare plan. When it happened before, the leaked copy was an outdated draft that conservatives quickly criticized.
The highly sought-after draft bill is being written by the Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the Republican health care effort. The Ways and Means panel are putting together another large chunk. Greg Walden the Chairman of Energy and Commerce from Oregon insists that the committee is doing nothing wrong, they aren’t.. “doing anything other than the regular process” of refining the bill to make it ready for committee debate.
Energy and Commerce Committee Democrat Paul Tonko of New York though had the right room. He said when he walked into “The room” minutes earlier, the staffers said,
“I said, ‘Well, I’m looking to read the bill, is this where I read the bill?’” Tonko stated.
“They said, ’You have the wrong room.’” “I said, ‘So, where is the room?’ They said, ’We don’t know that, sir.’”
The scene outside the “secret room” where House Republicans can view the Obamacare repeal and replace bill pic.twitter.com/pUCNB6Oggk
— Anna Edney (@annaedney) March 2, 2017
Tonko claimed that top Democrat of the Energy and Commerce committee, Frank Pallone of New Jersey, had announced the room number where the bill would be located at a subcommittee meeting, but that they must have moved it.
“They must’ve removed it, put it somewhere else,” said Pallone. “I just want to read the bill,” complained Tonko, saying he’ll keep searching when he has more time and isn’t in all day meetings.
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