With Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) expected to return to his post in the Senate just days after being diagnosed with a severe form of brain cancer, the GOP is gearing up to hold a procedural vote on Tuesday to move forward with a "mystery" version of Trumpcare that has not been fully analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), members of Congress, or the public.
Resistance groups were quick to raise the alarm, urging supporters to ramp up calls to their representatives and continue mobilizing at the Capitol in the face of the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's secretive efforts to ram through a deeply unpopular bill.
"Their legislation literally cannot survive more than a few days of public scrutiny, so they're hiding it like cowards."
—Chris Hayes, MSNBC
"It's impossible to overstate how incredible this is," writes Axios's Sam Baker of McConnell's tactics. "The Senate is planning to vote today to begin debate on a health care bill. No one knows which one—which means no one knows what it would do. Would it fundamentally restructure Medicaid? Would it send individual insurance markets across the country into a tailspin? The Senate won't know until it has already voted, later in the week, on one bill or another."
Other commentators similarly noted the brazen contempt Senate Republicans have shown for the most basic standards of transparency.
"Their legislation literally cannot survive more than a few days of public scrutiny, so they're hiding it like cowards," concluded MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
McCain's quick return to the Senate has raised serious concerns among activists who have spent the last several weeks working to ensure Trumpcare's failure. That McCain is flying to Washington for the Trumpcare vote could, as some have speculated, be an indication that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has the votes necessary to proceed with the legislation.
Indivisible responded with urgency echoed by other groups.
"Today we fought like hell," the group wrote Monday night. "Tomorrow, we fight even harder."
And McCain's apparent eagerness—in addition to GOP prodding—to return to the Senate to vote on legislation that could impose massive cuts to Medicaid and cause the deaths of thousands raised significant ire among commentators and lawmakers.
They’re....asking a doctor....if McCain can come vote....to take away peoples’ healthcare.... https://t.co/eTE1t0Gn4N
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 24, 2017
Cornyn will drive across the country so disadvantaged Americans can’t have healthcare.
How can someone be so evil?https://t.co/Lvcrf5V10e
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 24, 2017
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GOP: Come over
MCCAIN: I can't, I have brain cancer
GOP: We need your vote to strip millions of their health coverage
— ken klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) July 25, 2017
McCain literally needs a doctor's approval to vote for a bill that'll leave millions of Americans uninsured.......... https://t.co/eK7lcQZ1jY
— eve peyser (@evepeyser) July 24, 2017
The most recent CBO analysis of the so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act estimated that it would strip healthcare from 22 million Americans. This projection, however, did not include the so-called Cruz Amendment, which critics have argued would be disastrous for those with pre-existing conditions.
As Common Dreams reported on Monday, progressive groups have been ramping up pressure on Republican senators since McConnell's recent announcement that Trumpcare was likely to fail; mass demonstrations are set to take place throughout the week at the Capitol and across the country.
Republicans "think they can escape political gravity by moving as fast and as secretly as possible," said Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of Indivisible. "It's our job to show them that's not gonna work."