House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Thursday that Democrats are on guard for the possibility that Republicans could try to quickly push their health-care bill through the House and into law if the Senate succeeds in passing it next week.
It would be a remarkably accelerated process for such a complicated bill, but Hoyer said a quick House vote could happen under congressional rules.
“They know that if the American people know what this bill does, they are going to send a very negative response to the Republican members of the Senate and the Republican members of the House,” he said of Republicans.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that it’s “premature to say” whether the House will take up a Senate-passed bill or whether Republicans would convene a conference committee to work out differences between the chambers.
Hoyer, who played a central role in passing the Affordable Care Act as majority leader in 2009 and 2010, said Republicans had “rammed through” the health bill and accused them of “absolute hypocrisy” after they accused Democrats of procedural malfeasance during the ACA’s passage.
“The process stinks,” he said.
Hoyer said that Democrats are preparing to accelerate their opposition to the health-care bill but offered no specifics. He ruled out another floor sit-in similar to the one led by Democrats a year ago in response to congressional inaction on gun control after the Orlando nightclub shooting. Republicans changed House rules this year to fine members who take pictures or shoot video on the floor as an attempt to deter future sit-ins.
“We don’t want to subtract from the substance of this bill,” he said. “We may well take action to express our outrage at the process.”