Health care, Russia and an eye on Georgia

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Monday that Democrats will "withhold consent", a tactic that could force Republicans to wait days in between votes on bills and amendments.

Businesses are watching closely as Senate Republicans try to hash out a deal on a GOP version of health-care reform to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Blumenthal has scheduled Monday's hearing for 9 a.m.at the state Capitol in Hartford.

The aim, Democrats said, is to draw attention to the secretive process Republican leaders are using to craft their bill and argue that the GOP proposals would hurt Americans. The legislation passed 217 to 213 with 20 Republicans defecting, and every Democrat voting against.

Senate Democrats plan to ramp up opposition Monday to the emerging Republican health-care bill with a series of mostly symbolic moves including speeches that will go late into the evening and a push to slow other Senate business to a crawl.

The House bill would transform Medicaid by capping federal support of the program, which covers more than 70 million low-income children, parents, seniors and the disabled.

The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in May that would be the first step in dismantling parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Liberal activists cheered on social media as Schumer forced McConnell to object to a motion to hold public hearings on the health care bill, and then pressed the Republican leader to commit to 10 hours of open debate.

Specifically, he's trying to get it passed before the July 4 recess, according to Axios, when senators will be returning to their home districts.

That's not normal, say nonpartisan health care analysts and historians. Conservatives worry that the changes may make it harder to pass the legislation in the House. "Whether you agree with Medicaid expansion or not, the bottom line is this: The state has made a decision to go forward on that, and I believe it's the federal government's responsibility to at least protect Montana through 2019 when Montana's Medicaid expansion program sunsets". "Taking away the freedoms of working people in order to serve the wealthiest 1 percent isn't the path forward that the United States needs". Medicaid is the government healthcare program for the poor. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Republican committee chairs with jurisdiction over Trumpcare requesting that they "schedule hearings to discuss, debate and hear testimony about the health care bill you are now drafting in secret".

No wonder they're keeping it quiet. To hear Orrin Hatch tell it, there's nothing especially problematic with Republicans tackling a health care overhaul - life-or-death legislation, affecting one-sixth of the world's largest economy - in total secrecy, because if there was transparency, some might criticize the legislation. The House's bill instead lets people use tax credits in private markets.

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