Reminder: Senate Republicans have written the bill almost entirely behind closed doors.
President Donald Trump again blamed Senate Democrats for blocking the passage of a health care bill that no one outside of a handful of GOP lawmakers has actually seen yet.
Speaking Wednesday at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump lamented criticism that his administration hasn’t accomplished much yet and pointed a finger at Democratic lawmakers for slowing the passage of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
“If we went and got the single greatest health care plan in the history of the world, we would not get one Democrat vote, because they’re obstructionists,” Trump claimed. “If we came to you and said, ‘Here’s your plan, you’re going to have the greatest plan in history, and you’re going to pay nothing,’ they’d vote against it, folks.”
Trump tweeted similar complaints earlier Wednesday.
“If we had even a little Democrat support, just a little, like a couple of votes, you’d have everything. And you could give us a lot of votes and we’d even be willing to change it and move it around and try and make it even better,” he continued at the Iowa rally. “But again, They just want to stop, they just want to obstruct. A few votes from the Democrats, seriously, a few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy, so beautiful, and you’d have cooperation.”
What Trump failed to mention is that Senate Democrats haven’t actually had the opportunity to even read the bill, which Republican senators have written almost entirely behind closed doors. The unprecedented lack of transparency has drawn outrage from Democrats, the media and the public, while Republicans have falsely claimed that Democrats engaged in similar secrecy while writing the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he plans to release the text of the bill Thursday.)
Trump, who described the House version of the bill as “mean,” said Wednesday that he hopes Republicans will “surprise” the public with a “plan with heart.”
Reports, however, indicate that the Senate bill will be substantially similar to the one passed in the House last month. An estimated 23 million fewer people would have health care coverage under that bill, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of it.
And as HuffPost’s Jeffrey Young points out, the bill’s intent, regardless of what the Senate version looks like, is already clear. “The purpose of this bill is to dramatically scale back the safety net so wealthy people and health care companies can get a massive tax cut,” Young wrote this week.
The president also mocked Democrats for failing to pick up seats in special elections in Georgia and South Carolina on Tuesday, singling out Jon Ossoff, the Democrat who narrowly lost in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.
“They thought they were going to win last night in Atlanta,” he said. “And they’ve been unbelievably nasty, really nasty. They spent close to $30 million on this kid, who forgot to live in the community he was in.”
Trump then acknowledged that his criticism may not be doing Senate Republicans any favors in winning over their Democratic colleagues.
“I am making it a little bit hard to get their support, but who cares?” he said.