Wyden: Rushed hearing on Graham-Cassidy an 'abomination'

Wyden: Rushed hearing on Graham-Cassidy an 'abomination'
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee tore into his Republican counterpart Tuesday morning for scheduling a hearing on the GOP effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Lobbying world MORE (Ore.) criticized Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (Utah) for scheduling a hearing Monday night on an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill without consulting the panel's Democratic members. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (R-S.C.) and Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTax bill could fuel push for Medicare, Social Security cuts Collins to vote for GOP tax plan Overnight Tech: Lawmakers want answers on Uber breach | Justices divided in patent case | Tech makes plea for net neutrality on Cyber Monday MORE (R-La.), is widely considered the Republican Party’s last chance to repeal ObamaCare in this Congress.

Wyden called Hatch’s scheduling move “an abomination on the history of this storied committee” in his opening remarks ahead of a Tuesday morning hearing on tax reform.

Wyden stressed how much he respected Hatch, but slammed his GOP counterpart for allowing Graham-Cassidy to “swing through the [committee] for a single hearing” before a rushed vote. He also criticized Republicans for moving ahead on the Graham-Cassidy bill before it has been fully analyzed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

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“The majority is going to charge ahead with a radical, destructive transformation of American health care with the American people in the dark,” Wyden said. “Republicans here in the Senate don’t have answers to the key, gut questions,” such as the effect Graham-Cassidy would have on premiums and coverage levels.

Wyden also complained about the surprise hearing on the Senate floor last night, shortly after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.) said he couldn’t vote for the Graham-Cassidy bill without a hearing.

Hatch replied that several members of the committee had asked for a hearing as well, and that there wasn’t much more he could do to satisfy the various issues senators had about the healthcare process

Republicans are rushing to cement support for Graham-Cassidy before the GOP loses a window through which it could pass the bill with 51 votes via budget reconciliation. Only two GOP senators can oppose the bill for it to be able to pass with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence.