By Harris Meyer  | March 8, 2017

Democrats opened a House committee hearing Wednesday to mark up the Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a slashing attack on the GOP for not offering an open and transparent process for considering the legislation.

Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas asked that House Ways & Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady to postpone the markup until March 16 to allow time for at least one public hearing to discuss the bill. He insisted that the Trump administration send a representative to testify before the committee to discuss how the bill meets President Donald Trump’s promise to cover everyone at less cost with better coverage.

Doggett noted that before passing the ACA, House Democrats in 2009 heard 181 witnesses in 79 hearings, while Senate Democrats held 53 hearings. He compared the process of evaluating the GOP bill to the way consumers buy a new pair of pants. “They have two questions – how much does it cost and what is its size,” he said. “We are being asked to vote without knowing how much this bill costs, what it covers, and how many millions of people are once again being left without coverage. If you have nothing to hide, one week will not impair your effort.”

Republicans then defeated the motion on a party-line vote of 22 to 16.