Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) announcement on Tuesday that Congress’s August recess is scaled back to one week so lawmakers can address President Donald Trump’s executive and judicial nominations and pass spending bills is a blow to Democrats who want the time away for fundraising ahead of the midterm elections.
McConnell’s announcement included blaming Democrats’ obstruction for the decision, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) ran to the microphones soon after the recess decision to announce his party will use the extra time to push Obamacare-related legislation.
“We want to reverse those policies that hurt the middle class,” Schumer told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Modern Health Care website.
“Middle-class families will have their pockets picked with the aid and help of our Republican friends in the House and Senate,” Schumer said.
Politico reported on a letter Schumer sent to McConnell on Wednesday requesting several health care bills be considered in the August session:
“We believe this previously unscheduled session time can be put to good use to finally help Americans secure the affordable health care the President and Congressional Republicans have thus far failed to deliver,” Schumer wrote to McConnell in his letter, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO.
Democrats are gearing up ahead of November’s midterm elections to slam Republican efforts to chip away at Obamacare, including the repeal of the law’s individual mandate as part of last year’s GOP tax bill, as the leading factor behind health insurance premium increases in the coming months.
“This sabotage also has those with pre-existing conditions once again facing the prospect of denied coverage, increased costs and medical bankruptcy,” Schumer has written to McConnell.
The Hill also reported on Schumer’s letter and the Democrats trying to blame Trump for rising health care costs, even though premiums for most Americans forced to enroll in Obamacare saw ever-increasing costs:
The bills Schumer said he wants action on are ones most Republicans would not support, like one that would incentivize states to expand Medicaid.
Democrats are pushing to pin blame on Republicans for rising health-care costs ahead of the November midterms, in which the GOP is defending its majority in both chambers.
Specifically, Democrats plan to emphasize Republicans’ repeated attempts to repeal ObamaCare, and the Trump administration’s changes to the health-care law.
“After 18 months of trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deliberately sabotaging our health care system, Republican policies have resulted in major premium increases for millions of Americans,” Schumer wrote in the letter.
The cancellation of most of the August recess came after Republicans and conservative organizations pressured McConnell about short work weeks and a long summer break despite undone business.
Given those pressing issues, it seems unlikely the GOP will agree to consider the Democrats’ health care wish list.
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