Dem leaders urge GOP: ‘Pull the bill’

Dem leaders urge GOP: ‘Pull the bill’
© Greg Nash

Top Democrats in both chambers are urging Republicans to scrap their ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill in the wake of the Congressional Budget Office’s assessment that 24 million people will lose their insurance under the proposal.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday evening the CBO’s estimate is evidence that President Trump and GOP leaders had no intention of following through on campaign promises to protect the working class.

Schumer called the GOP healthcare plan “a nightmare” that would benefit only the wealthy and insurance executives, while “everyone else gets a cold shoulder.” 

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“Remember when President Trump was a candidate? He said everyone will be covered, and costs will go down,” Schumer told reporters Monday evening in the Capitol. “We now know that he had no intention of keeping either promise.”

Pelosi warned that by cutting taxes on wealthy Americans while scaling back healthcare benefits for the middle class, the bill would catalyze “the biggest transfer of wealth in our history.”

“It is indecent and wrong,” Pelosi said. 

“I would hope that they would pull the bill. It’s really the only decent thing they could do.”

The comments came shortly after the CBO released its much-anticipated analysis of the Republicans’ America Health Care Act, which GOP leaders pushed through a pair of House committees last week with the aim of bringing it to the floor later this month.

The CBO found that the bill would reduce the number of people with insurance coverage by 14 million next year, and by 24 million in 2026 — an analysis that defies Trump’s promise that no one would lose their insurance under the Republicans’ repeal effort.

Anticipating the bleak review, Republicans in the White House and on Capitol Hill have vilified the CBO in recent weeks as an unreliable forecaster whose analysis should not be treated as gospel. 

“Sometimes we ask them to do stuff they’re not capable of doing, and estimating the impact of a bill of this size probably isn’t the best use of their time,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Schumer and Pelosi on Monday pushed back hard against those attacks, noting that the current CBO director, Keith Hall, is a conservative appointed by Republicans.

“This fits a pattern that is disturbing — even alarming — in this administration. When they hear something they don’t like, they label it a lie. CBO is virtually unassailable,” Schumer said.

Hall “was supposed to be conservative,” he added. “Unfortunately for Republicans, he’s an honest person. And they won’t be able to discredit this.”

Pelosi piled on.

“Numbers are quite eloquent things; they speak very clearly,” she said.

“The CBO report was one that the Republicans had always demanded of us when we had the majority,” Pelosi added.

For the Republicans, the CBO report was not all bad news. Their legislation, it estimated, would cut deficit spending by $337 billion over a decade — a reduction hailed by some conservative budget hawks. 

Pelosi said the report has left the GOP “torn.” 

“Some of them are trying to pin a rose on this report and make it sound like it’s a good thing,” she said, “and the others of them are trying to discredit the CBO.”

GOP leaders had raised plenty of eyebrows by pushing the legislation through both the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce committees last week, before the CBO analysis was done. The Democrats have a theory on the reasoning for the push: Republicans, they say, don’t want anyone to know what’s in the bill.

“The more exposure it gets, the less popular it becomes,” Schumer said.

Pelosi said Trump “made fools” of the Republicans by asking them to vote on the proposal in the committee without knowing its effects on costs and coverage.

“That really was a disservice, I think, to their own members,” she said.

Schumer said the CBO report “should be a knock-out blow for Republicans in Congress.”

He predicted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates McConnell warns Schumer cutting off debate quickly could stall infrastructure deal Top House Democrat says party would lose elections if they were held today: report MORE (R-Ky.), who’s already hearing complaints from Senate Republicans about the House bill, “is going to have real difficulty” passing it through the upper chamber — if it gets that far."

“They should heed this warning,” he said, “and turn back from their plan.”