In an effort to avoid the occurrence of anymore White House plagued leaks, House Republican leaders are keeping the newest and most up to date version of their Obamacare replacement bill under wraps.
The new bill will be made available to a select group of politicians, and members of the House Energy and Commerce panel will have access to the bill this Thursday, but it will be revealed to them in a limited access environment, and no one will receive copies of it.
This “cloak and dagger” procedure is necessary to avoid the ongoing leak problems at the White House, such as the one that occurred last week when an old and outdated version of the bill was “leaked,” causing instant criticisms from conservatives.
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), who chairs the 170-member Republican Study Committee, said that when he saw a copy of the leaked bill, he couldn’t support the draft and won’t recommend his colleagues do so, either.
According to Rep Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a member of the health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, “The draft of it is going to be available tomorrow for those of us on the health subcommittee to start pouring through. Unfortunately for you, we’re making sure it won’t be leaked.”
Gus Bilirakis of Florida, another member of the committee, said, “We’re not having a hearing or anything. But there’ll be a place for us to view it, the draft.”
Paul Ryan told NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday that the bill is going through the usual legislative process, saying:
“We’re not hatching some bill in a backroom and plopping it on the American people’s front door.”
Rep. Collins said the bill still needed to be processed by the Congressional Budget Office so a “score,” determining the cost of the plan and how many people need to be insured, can be estimated. However, because of delays, Collins said that the bill might begin the marking up and voting process before a score can be determined.
The “score” can take up to three weeks to be determined, and Collins said, “It looks like, unfortunately, based on the delays, we may be marking it up and voting on it before we have a score.”
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According to Bloomberg, an unidentified Republican said the committee had made no final decisions on timing for any markup.
Republicans, in an effort to jumpstart the healthcare bill, don’t want to waste more time than they already have.
Collins said, “We can’t sit back and wait for these scores to come out for three more weeks before we start what’s a three-week process.”
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