GOP Senator Agrees 'More Open Process' Was Needed for Secret Health Care Bill

Committee hearings would have been nice, Bob Corker concedes, but he'll go ahead and consider the bill anyway.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday joined other GOP senators concerned about the closed-door process his party’s leadership has used to rush a sweeping health care bill through the chamber, but he’s going along with it.

“I am going to vote for this bill or vote against this bill ... based on how it affects people in Tennessee, and actually, how it affects our nation,” Corker said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

When the show’s panel pressed him on whether the GOP’s process was adequate, Corker shrugged and stammered, before admitting he would have preferred more transparency.

“I would have liked, as you already know, for this to be a more open process and have committee hearings, but that’s not what we’re doing,” Corker said.

“At the end of the day, that doesn’t preclude my responsibilities as a senator to either vote yes or no, based on the substance of what’s in it,” said Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He added that he would “look forward to diving into the substance” once he sees the bill’s text.

The legislation, sent to the Congressional Budget Office for analysis, has been written in secret without committee hearings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is pushing for a vote on it late next week.

Several other GOP senators have also expressed their concerns about the secretive process, even though they could call for open committee hearings on the bill.

Republicans in 2009 similarly accused Democrats of rushing to pass the Affordable Care Act without adequate public vetting. In reality, the Obama administration and Democrats held hundreds of hours of meetings and open hearings on the bill, which took more than a year to finally pass.

This time around, GOP senators and Trump administration officials continue to insist their closed-door deliberations to pass a bill that will likely harm millions of Americans is totally fine.

McConnell told reporters Tuesday that Republicans were having “many productive discussions” on the legislation that will impact one-sixth of the U.S. economy. 

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Marc Lotter, asserted to MSNBC that the Senate bill will “have a very public, very thorough vetting.”



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