Engel Calls Senate Plans to Sidestep Regular Process for Trumpcare "Outrageous and Hypocritical”
Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement regarding Senate consideration of the American Health Care Act, known as Trumpcare:
“The policies included in Trumpcare are utterly devastating. But similarly unconscionable was the process by which House Republicans pushed this bill forward – a process that, stunningly, Senate Republicans appears poised to mirror.
“House Republicans passed Trumpcare without a single hearing, robbing Americans of the chance to hear testimony and analysis from expert witnesses. The bill bypassed every relevant subcommittee, moving straight to full Committee votes. And the final text was hidden from view until less than 24 hours before the House voted to pass it. That vote took place without an up-to-date readout from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – i.e., without a complete understanding of what Trumpcare will cost and how it will affect our constituents.
“To call this process ‘opaque’ would be an understatement. And yet the Senate plans to retrench even further.
“Reports indicate that the Senate version of Trumpcare will sidestep Committee review altogether – a step even more egregious than House Republicans’ truncated Committee process. Instead, Senate Republicans have convened a working group that will conduct its business completely out of public view, and without a single woman or Democrat.
“This is as outrageous as it is hypocritical. For nearly a decade, Republicans have relentlessly castigated the process by which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted. Yet, over the course of 2009 and 2010, the House alone held 79 bipartisan hearings and markups on health insurance reform. Just in the Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve, Democrats adopted 24 Republicans amendments to the ACA. In contrast, on their first failed attempt in March, House Republicans adopted zero Democratic amendments to Trumpcare during our Committee’s single, 27-hour marathon markup.
“I had hoped that Trumpcare’s initial failure in March may have given pause to my Republican colleagues, who could have worked openly with Democrats to improve the ACA and build on its progress. But it appears that the GOP isn’t ready to work with Democrats, or to work to protect the American people.”
ROSENSTEIN SHOULD APPOINT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR & RECUSE HIMSELF, and Renews Call for Sessions Resignation
“Reporting today makes clear that Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein offered their ‘recommendations’ for FBI Director Comey's dismissal to give President Trump a modest cover, while in fact, the President’s anger underlay his outrageous decision to fire the person investigating him. This acquiescence at the highest level of the Justice Department shows a remarkable lack of integrity, judgment, and independence.
“I renew my call for AG Sessions, who gave false testimony in his confirmation hearing, to step down. I also urge Deputy AG Rosenstein to request that a three-judge panel appoint a special prosecutor and then recuse himself from any investigations dealing with the Trump Administration. Their jobs are to enforce our laws, not give the President cover, and their actions leave them compromised and entangled in the President's scandal.
“Furthermore, the Senate should postpone confirming any new Justice Department officials until a special prosecutor and an independent commission are in place to investigate the Trump-Russia Scandal. The President must not be allowed to entrust this issue to a hand-picked Trump insider. This week has already shown that his Administration puts his personal interests ahead of the rule of law.”
Engel Statement on President Signing Executive Order to Investigate Electoral Process
“Since the election and even prior, the President has perpetuated this unsubstantiated myth about voter fraud. Now he’s taken this myth to the next level with an Executive Order that creates a commission to investigate the electoral process. This is just the latest diversionary tactic the White House has deployed to draw attention away from the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, which is the real story that requires serious investigation.”