A tyranny of the minority is raising your health care costs
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I hear it every day. People are frustrated that nothing is getting done in Congress. And the frustration is warranted. We are setting records for inaction. And it is because Americans are suffering under the tyranny of a minority.

On our young Dreamers, guns, and now health care, there are bipartisan bills ready to go that have bipartisan support. But they may never make it the floor for a vote. Why? Because two men – House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Dem moves to force vote on bill protecting Mueller Collins: 'Extremely disappointing' ObamaCare fix left out of spending deal House poised to vote on .3T spending bill MORE (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCollins: 'Extremely disappointing' ObamaCare fix left out of spending deal House poised to vote on .3T spending bill Budowsky: Stop Trump from firing Mueller MORE (R-Ky.) – get to decide what bills we vote on. And they, for their part, act with the permission of their most extreme wings, a minority within their own party.

I guess I can understand why. Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorGOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House Feehery: The governing party 'Release the memo' — let's stop pretending that Democrats are the defenders of the FBI MORE (R-Va.) both lost their jobs in part because they were open to the idea of working with Democrats. Cantor was primaried for his support of even incremental action on immigration reform. BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner4 reasons Mike Pompeo will succeed at Foggy Bottom The misunderstood reason Congress can’t get its job done GOP sees McCarthy moving up — if GOP loses the House MORE was punished for turning to Democrats when his own party repeatedly refused to vote for the budgets and debt ceiling increases needed to keep the government functioning.

So the lesson was clear: adhere to the wishes of the most extreme members, or else.

This pressure ultimately killed comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. Despite passing the Senate with an overwhelming 68 votes (more support than is required for even passing a constitutional amendment), the immigration bill was never even considered in the House. You read that right. It’s not that it failed to win a majority. It was never called up for a vote. Perhaps it is because the Republican leaders at the time knew it would pass with a similarly bipartisan majority and they were more concerned by the anger of the few who would have voted no.

And so now, even though President Trump (himself elected by a minority of Americans), has begged Congress to act to stop him from deporting Dreamers, the bipartisan DREAM Act, which I know could gain a majority of votes, is being delayed at the behest of the most anti-immigrant few.

It’s the same story with guns. In poll after poll, common sense gun legislation is supported by 80 percent-90 percent of Americans. Anything from universal background checks to restrictions on the most lethal weapons and ammunition are widely supported. But even after the shooting in Las Vegas, the worst mass shooting in American history – a mere 16 months after the last worst mass shooting in American history – Republican leaders in Congress said the people were wrong in their desire for action, and there would be no significant gun reforms.

The latest instance happened just last week after President Trump announced he would be ending the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that have been successful at allowing more Americans to afford health insurance. Ending the CSR payments is absolutely certain to raise the cost of health care. So Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: What to expect in omnibus | HIV expert to head CDC | Sessions issues memo on death penalty for drug cases HIV expert named CDC director GOP lawmakers blast Dems for opposing ObamaCare fix MORE, a Republican, worked with Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySpending bill would double child care funding for low-income families Funding bill gives billion boost for NIH medical research Spending bill prevents employers from pocketing tips under tip-pooling rule MORE, a Democrat, to draft a bill that would extend those payments for two years. This would ensure that skyrocketing health care costs would not kick Americans off their insurance plans while Congress works on a permanent fix to the Affordable Care Act. President Trump even voiced support for the plan. Until he retracted it. And then Ryan followed suit, opposing the bipartisan agreement.

So to be clear, the president took an action that is certain to raise health care costs. A bipartisan plan to help save American families from that cost was created. But you’ll never get to see how your representative in Congress will vote on it.


Unless the majority speaks up and we become the voices that cannot be ignored. This could happen. In fact, we saw it just last Congress with the Export-Import Bank, an important program that helps American small businesses sell their goods abroad. A handful of Tea Party Republicans wanted to end this program, but that would have hurt businesses across the country. Still, Speaker Ryan followed the wishes of the few and the vote to continue funding the Export-Import Bank was kept off the floor. Until Republicans and Democrats got together to do something that has only been done a handful of times in history: we went around leadership. By signing something called a discharge petition, a majority of the House was able to bring the bill straight to the floor for a vote where it passed. And now, the Export-Import Bank is once again functioning as it should, supporting our small businesses and exporters.

It’s time for the majority to act again. If we want to protect the Dreamers in our communities, put an end to mass shootings, or stop an avoidable increase in health care premiums, we may need to go around the minority in power who stand in our way. Already, Democrats have signed a discharge petition – like the one used for the Export-Import Bank – to force a vote on the DREAM Act.

Our position is simple: let us vote. Let the people see where their members stand. It’s time that the majority is heard.

Chu represents California's 27th District.