Republican leaders in Washington have come under withering assault for the way they are putting together their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act ― specifically, for writing the legislation almost entirely behind closed doors, with zero Democratic input, and with plans to hold a vote mere days and maybe mere hours after finalizing the language.
Some Republican senators say they, too, are frustrated by the process. But so far none has seen fit to demand slower, more open deliberations. They say they are inclined to cut their leadership some slack, because ― supposedly ― Democrats acted the exact same way when they first wrote the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010.
This is nonsense, as historians and the reporters who covered the 2009 and 2010 debate keep pointing out.
Yes, Democrats cut plenty of backroom deals and pulled plenty of legislative tricks to get their bill through Congress. That’s how complicated legislation always comes together. And, yes, Democrats ultimately passed the Affordable Care Act on a party-line vote.
But what Republicans are doing now is fundamentally different and truly unprecedented for legislation of this consequence.
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