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Sand in the Gears


The AHCA is a political and humanitarian crisis that demands an unconventional response. Fortunately, it seems like Senate Democrats get it:

Senate Democrats are preparing an all-out war to try to save the Affordable Care Act.

With limited tools at their disposal, their plan is to hammer Senate Republicans for their secrecy, spotlight elements that would throw millions of people off their health coverage and fuel enough public outcry to make Republicans eyeing re-election fights very nervous.

The reality is that Democrats can’t really stop the Republicans who are using Senate budget rules that let them pass repeal legislation with only 50 votes and no chance to filibuster.

But alarmed by the GOP urgency to press ahead with repeal, they are lining up a two-track effort to try to save the Affordable Care Act: They plan a sustained attack on Republicans’ hypocrisy for ramming through a bill with no committee hearings after the GOP blamed Democrats for years for passing Obamacare with no Republican votes.

And when and if the bill comes to the Senate floor, Democrats will use every tool at their disposal to try to slow it down, from challenging the parliamentarian’s decisions on the arcane rules, to forcing a high-profile and lengthy series of amendment votes to shine light on the legislation.

A lengthy vote series, they say, could bring the bright lights of cable news, Twitter, activists and others to the process – and potentially even delay a June vote and force the GOP to endure a July recess when Democratic allies will mobilize in the states.

It’s not guaranteed to work, of course — if Republicans want to ram it through they can. But they want a process as opaque and hasty as possible, and logically the response is to do whatever you can to slow it down and attract public and media attention.

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