Sanders: Dems won't vote on 'sham' single-payer amendment

Sanders: Dems won't vote on 'sham' single-payer amendment
© Keren Carrion

Senate Democrats are not going to play into Sen. Steve Daines's (R-Mont.) effort to divide the party on the issue of single-payer healthcare, a spokesman for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (I-Vt.) told Vox Wednesday.

"The Democratic caucus will not participate in the Republicans' sham process. No amendment will get a vote until we see the final legislation and know what bill we are amending,” Josh Miller-Lewis said in a text to Vox's Jeff Stein.

“Once Republicans show us their final bill, Sen. Sanders looks forward to getting a vote on his amendment that makes clear the Senate believes that the United States must join every major country and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege."

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Daines introduced an amendment Wednesday night that would establish a government-funded healthcare system.

To be sure, Daines does not support single-payer healthcare. Rather, the amendment was a political maneuver to reveal internal strife among Democrats, who are divided in their support for such a system.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who caucuses with the Democrats, has been among Congress's most vocal and fervent supporters of "Medicare for all."

Some Senate Democrats have begun to move their support toward a government-funded healthcare system, such as Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.).

But the party is still far from united on the issue, and Democratic lawmakers have focused primarily on opposing Republicans' attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.