Dems Cancel Committees, Slow Senate in Effort to Block Obamacare Repeal

Chuck Schumer
Chuck Schumer / Getty Images
June 20, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Tuesday announced the latest move in Democrats' ongoing effort to slow down the Senate in opposition to the Republican push to repeal Obamacare.

Schumer announced that Senate Democrats will invoke the so-called "two hour" rule, which blocks committees from meeting once the Senate has been in session for more than two hours, the Hill reports.

Democrats threatened as much on Monday, saying that they would interrupt Senate procedure unless Republicans allowed public debate and at least one committee hearing on their health care reform plan.

"As we've made clear to our Republican colleagues, if they continue to insist on ramming through a secret health care bill without any public input or debate, they shouldn't expect business as usual in the Senate," a statement from Schumer said.

The Senate convened at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, meaning that a variety of committee hearings after noon had to be cancelled. These included a hearing led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) to discuss the ongoing investigation into ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

Republicans are hoping for a vote on the Senate version of the American Health Care Act as soon as next week, before Congress's recess for July 4.