Government & Politics

McCaskill tirade about GOP health plan goes viral: 'We have no idea what’s being proposed'

Sen. Claire McCaskill says 'group of guys in a back room' are making healthcare decisions

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Social media is lapping up a video clip of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill unloading Thursday about “a group of guys in a back room somewhere” shaping the Republicans’ proposed replacement of Obamacare without Democratic input.

In a three-minute scolding during a Senate Finance Committee meeting, McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, dressed down committee chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, for what McCaskill called a legislative process even more partisan than what transpired during passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“Will we have a hearing? On the health care proposal?” McCaskill asked Hatch during testimony by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about his department’s budget.

Apparently unsure how to respond, Hatch briefly conferred with an aide before telling McCaskill “I think we’ve already had one” and saying her ideas on the issue are welcome.

McCaskill then tore into a lecture on legislative order:

“I heard you say, Mr. Secretary (Price), ‘We’d love your support.’ For what? We don’t even know. We have no idea what’s being proposed.

“There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. ... There were no hearings in the House. I mean, listen, this is hard to take.”

McCaskill acknowledged that Democrats were criticized for strict partisanship when passing President Barack Obama’s health care plan in 2010, but “dozens of Republican amendments were offered and accepted” as the result of hearings.

“Well,” she told Hatch on Thursday, “you couldn’t have a more partisan exercise than what you’re engaged in right now.”

By mid-morning Friday her remarks had triggered more than 12,000 retweets on Twitter.

Rick Montgomery: 816-234-4410, @rmontgomery_r

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