Sen. Bernie Sanders speaking on the Senate floor during Wednesday’s budget and health care debates. (Screen shot via Gizmodo)

In one of the first moves of the 115th Congress, Senate Republicans took steps Wednesday to unravel the Affordable Care Act. Now, Democrats are scrambling to organize their opposition to any replacement health care plan.

“By a vote of 51 to 48 on Wednesday, the Senate took the first step, agreeing to take up a budget resolution, or blueprint, that would clear the way for legislation repealing major provisions of the law,” The New York Times reported.

The vote came during a day of emotionally charged remarks from both sides of the aisle.

President Obama came to Capitol Hill Wednesday to rally members of his party in the fight against the GOP, and to urge them to prepare a plan of attack against any replacement health care initiative.

“Obama came armed not with a specific plan to halt Republican repeal efforts, but rather encouragement for Democrats to engage in a massive public relations push aimed at capitalizing on the law’s more popular provisions,” NBC News reported. “Democratic leaders pounced on a new slogan—’make America sick again’—and they are gearing up for two weekends of large, campaign-style rallies in cities across the country to defend the law beginning Saturday.”

Sources from Obama’s closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats said that Obama told the lawmakers not to “rescue” Republicans when they try to come up with a replacement to the Affordable Care Act.

“The suggestion was a clear indication of the Democratic Party’s goal of turning the tables on Republicans, who are already facing pressure to quickly craft a replacement bill,” CNN reported.

Obama also came up with an idea to refer to any GOP-created health care plan as “Trumpcare,” CNN added.

Meanwhile, Vice President-elect Mike Pence journeyed to Capitol Hill to encourage GOP lawmakers in a closed meeting.

“Make no mistake about it: We’re going to keep our promise to the American people—we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government,” Pence told reporters after the meeting.

House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed similar sentiments and criticized Obamacare in remarks that NPR fact-checkers found to be only partially true.

Ryan also announced Thursday that the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would include language to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a reconciliation bill.

“Reconciliation is a special congressional procedure allowing legislation to bypass a Senate filibuster, meaning it would need only a simple majority of senators to pass rather than a 60-vote supermajority,” The Washington Post explained.

Democrats began to show their opposition during debates on the Senate floor prior to the vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders brought a large printout of one of Trump’s tweets from 2015:

Gizmodo reported


Bernie [Sanders] said that if Trump plans to cut Medicare or Medicaid that he should just admit now that he was lying.

“Millions of people voted for him on the belief that he would keep his word,” Sanders said on the Senate floor, referring to Trump’s promises during the election campaign.

“If he was sincere, then I would hope that tomorrow or maybe today he could send out a tweet and tell his Republican colleagues to stop wasting their time and all of our time. And for Mr. Trump to tell the American people that he will veto any proposal that cuts Medicare, that cuts Medicaid or that cuts Social Security.”

Since then, Sanders has gone on Twitter to condemn further the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act:

Senate Democrats held a press conference Wednesday to show their support for the Affordable Care Act, although several members of the party were notably absent.

“Democratic senators in Republican states want to distance themselves from Obamacare,” the Daily Caller reported. “More than a handful of senators up for reelection in states that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 were not present at the press conference. [Absent] were: Bill Nelson, Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, Heidi Heitkamp, Bob Casey, and Joe Manchin.”

However, most other Democrats have since utilized conversations with the press to show their fiery support of Obama’s plan.

“We are going to have to come out of the box with blazing guns,” Rep. James Clyburn told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Thursday:

Even President-elect Donald Trump seemed concerned about the difficult process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. In a series of tweets sent Wednesday, Trump urged Republican lawmakers to “be careful.”

“[R]epealing Obamacare is a difficult and fraught exercise, for a whole host of policy and political reasons,” The Washington Post explained. “Which is why Obama is telling Democrats to force Republicans to replace the law themselves. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said it more bluntly: ‘If they want to break this, they own it.’ “

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.