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On October 29th, the 40 GOP members of the United States Senate sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) asking him to make public the Democrats healthcare reform proposal. Over two weeks have passed since Senator Reid received the Republicans’ request and Democratic leadership continues to keep the bill hidden from the outside world. To date, Senate Democrats and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) are the only ones to have seen the plan.
To form his healthcare bill, Majority Leader Reid reportedly brought together aspects of the 1,502 page Baucus Bill—which passed the Senate Finance Committee with a vote of 14 to 9—and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee or HELP Bill. Now, using their overwhelming majority in the Senate, Congressional Democrats seek to bypass the American people and force through a bill that the public has been barred from reading. Such a move runs directly counter to the proclaimed will of President Obama.
During his campaign, then-Candidate Obama promised to usher in a new era of transparency in government. Americans, he said, would finally be able to see what really goes on in Washington. Speaking of health care reform, Mr. Obama stated
[W]e'll have the negotiations televised on CSPAN so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.
Now, however, Democrats are hiding behind closed doors in an attempt to leave the American people out of the process. Senate Majority Leader Reid and other top Democrats met in private with White House advisors on several occasions. Hidden from public sight, they created a bill that they hope will attract the votes of 60 of their colleagues in the Senate.
What has Senator Reid included in the final reform bill? We don’t know. Keeping the bill a secret leaves opponents—and the American people—with little time to uncover the concealed spending and political shenanigans that he has undoubtedly included. It is a dishonest maneuver made by a politician who knows that his visions are wildly unpopular. When it comes to legislation that will so deeply impact the lives of every American, the public deserves more than to be arrogantly ignored by the people elected to represent them.