Protestors Force Obamacare Repeal Hearing To Recess

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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Protestors that showed up to the Senate Committee on Finance hearing on the recent Republican proposal to repeal major portions of Obamacare were so unruly that they forced Sen. Orin Hatch of Utah to recess the hearing until all protestors were forcibly removed from the room.

“No cuts to Medicaid. Save our liberty,” the protestors chanted repeatedly. The chants started the moment Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch hit the gavel Monday afternoon.


Capitol Police removed one protestor after another from the hearing room, and Hatch and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon left the scene as police tried to reinstate order.

GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana released their revised bill Monday to repeal major features of Obamacare and fundamentally change the program’s funding mechanism.

Graham and Cassidy, along with Republican Colleagues Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, are angling to win the support of conservative and moderate senators in their own party who remain on the fence or were outright opposed to the first iteration of the GOP’s eleventh-hour push to upend the American health care system.

The Republican holdouts thus far include: Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and, most recently, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.

Republican senators have until Sept. 30 to pass Graham-Cassidy under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules, which allows leadership to pass a bill with only 50 “yes” votes and bypasses filibusters from Democrats. After Sept. 30, the Senate would be pursuing Obamacare repeal through regular order, which would provide a few significant obstacles for the small 52 seat Republican-held majority, like Democratic filibusters and a 60 “yes” vote threshold.

The hearing in the Senate was an attempt to appease McCain and Democrats who have decried the recent repeal effort as not doing enough to be bipartisan.

Hatch reconvened the committee after roughly ten minutes. “If you can’t be in order, then get the heck out of here,” he said.

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