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Rand Paul Denied Access to House Obamacare Bill

Rand Paul Denied Access to House Obamacare Bill

“I want to read the bill because it’s affecting one-sixth of the economy.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wanted to view the House GOP Obamacare replacement bill, but could not gain access to it from a secure room. This did not please the senator, who wants to keep everything transparent:

“If you recall where Obamacare was passed in 2009, 2010, Nancy Pelosi said we’ll know what’s in it after we pass it. The Republican Party shouldn’t act in the same way,” Paul said in a circus-like atmosphere outside the offices of House leaders. “This is being presented as if it were a national secret, as it if it were a plot to invade another country. … That’s wrong. It should be done openly in the public. And conservatives who have objections that don’t want Obamacare-lite should be able to see the bill.”

Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hid the bill in a secure room on the first floor of the Capitol. When Paul heard the members of the committee planned to discuss the bill, he wanted to join them.

By the time Paul arrived, the bill was gone. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) told Paul he could not read it:

“They said that this room was a holdover room,” Tonko said. “I said: ‘Where’s the room number?’ And they didn’t know. I want to read the bill because it’s affecting one-sixth of the economy.”

Paul even brought his own copy machine just in case he could make a copy of the bill:

The senator went on a tweet storm about the situation:

Democrats quickly joined Paul’s side in an effort to grab the bill:

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, arrived shortly after Paul to try to get into the room. After being told nothing was in there, he said that he had been told Republican lawmakers could go there to see the bill, and the GOP must have moved the bill.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), the chairman of the committee, responded to accusations that the group wants to keep everything a secret:

“Reports that the Energy and Commerce Committee is doing anything other than the regular process of keeping its members up to speed on latest developments in its jurisdictions are false. We are continuing to work on drafting and refining legislative language to provide relief from a failing law,” Walden said in as statement.

“Simply put, Energy and Commerce majority members and staff are continuing to discuss and refine draft legislative language on issues under our committee’s jurisdiction.”

Why the secrecy? A leak last week of an Obamacare draft caused major problems for the party since many said they couldn’t support it as is:

“Am I for Obamacare repeal? The answer is yes,” Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, head of a conservative wing known as the Freedom Caucus, said Tuesday. “Am I for this plan? The answer is no.” Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina, who chairs the 170-member Republican Study Committee, also said he couldn’t support the leaked draft and won’t recommend his colleagues do so, either.


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Mark Meadows is my Congressman. He’s a great guy and I trust him. If he says he doesn’t support the “leaked bill”, then I don’t either. Once again, the GOPe “leadership” is trying to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. Ryan needs to go.

Bucky Barkingham | March 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

This is all political theater by the Roll-Over Party leadership who have no real interest in repealing and replacing Obamacare. Continuing the ROP tradition of running on promises and then not keeping them. If this keeps up the Trump base will stay away from the polls in 2018 and Pilosi will be Speaker again.

The Friendly Grizzly | March 3, 2017 at 8:12 am

They have to pass the bill for Pail to see what’s in it.

Humphrey's Executor | March 3, 2017 at 8:54 am

They should have ripped the bandaid off quickly. Now its too late. The process is going to bogged down in endless minutiae with various people repeatedly lying: “if you repeal Obamacare, I WILL DIE.”

buckeyeminuteman | March 3, 2017 at 9:17 am

Ryan is Boehner-lite. All he has done as Squeaker is talk a lot of talk and pass some CRs and the Omnibus that funded everything Obama wanted and then some.

Seems like the perfect time for a revival of the glorious Tea Party!

I can see how the Republicans might want to make whatever they come up with thoroughly Democrat-proof before letting those rats get any wind of it.

So at this stage, Republican secrecy is not a cause for panic.


On one hand, Rand Paul is not a member of the House, he’s a member of the Senate. Going to the House and demanding to see a bill in progress is silly, self-important political grandstanding.

On the other hand, he’s right that their insistence on secrecy is a very bad sign. You get secret bills when there’s a lot of horse trading and deal making going on, not when you’re just trying to repeal something destructive.

Sounds to me like they just don’t want draft versions to get out and for people to freak out over an incomplete bill that’s a work in progress, and Rand Paul is grandstanding.

There will be plenty of time for people to examine the bill (and complain/revise/rant if they wish) after the committee finishes their work on it and it goes to the full House.

ugottabekiddinme | March 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm

In a sane world, Republican leaders of House and Senate with the chairs of the affected committees would be conferring together as if they were, you know, in the same party, and move along to where they had a bill that would pass both houses of Congress and be sent to President Trump to sign.

But, as I said, that would be in a sane world, which Wash. DC simply ain’t. Sen. Paul’s stunt demonstrates that all too clearly.

Whatever bill leaves the House will end up in the Senate. Paul can read it then.

We’re what? A month or so in, and I’m already sick of Rand Paul’s grandstanding.