If Republicans were really trying to jam the Obamacare replacement bills through the committees, as the Democrats charged, couldn't they have jammed it a little faster? Here's where things stood as of this morning:
- The House Ways and Means Committee approved its bill shortly before 4:30 a.m.
- The House Energy and Commerce Committee was still going at it.
What took so long? Lots of substantive amendments and serious work? Not really. Blame lots of point-scoring Democratic amendments, like trying to write President Trump's "health care for everybody" test into law, preventing cost increases for seniors, guaranteeing no job losses at hospitals, and, for some reason, releasing Trump's tax returns.
But at least Ways and Means got going on those trolling amendments during the daylight hours. In Energy and Commerce, chairman Greg Walden let the debate, and the bickering, drone on for hours before they even got to any amendments. They finally took up the first of 100 threatened Democratic amendments at 7:30 pm: trying to rename the GOP bill "The Republican Pay More for Less Care Act," just like the signs the Democrats briefly plastered all around the committee room.
It got voted down around 10:30 pm — after which Walden warned the Democrats to "buckle in" so they could work through the night. They did eventually get to more substantive Democratic amendments, like getting rid of the change to Medicaid per-capita caps. (It failed.) As of this morning, they were arguing about premiums for older people. They weren't moving any faster, but they were sounding sleepier.
Caitlin Owens stayed into the early morning hours at the Ways and Means markup, so you should definitely read her story here. Me? I went to sleep and got up early. Didn't miss a thing.