Senate Democrats gathered outside the Capitol on Wednesday morning to protest the health care bill currently being drafted by their Republican colleagues, which is to be unveiled Thursday and could be voted on as early as next week.
"Every Democrat, from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin and everyone in between, is united in defeating this 'mean' bill," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, a reference to the fact that President Trump called the House version of the bill "mean" last week.
The House passed its version in May, while the Senate measure is currently being drafted by 13 male Republican senators who have kept the process and details of the bill tightly under wraps.
"We don't know what the bill looks like because it's been written by 13 male Republicans behind a closed door," Senator Al Franken, D-Minnesota, told the crowd. "This heartless legislation that an overwhelming number of Americans oppose," he later added.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans feel that Senate Republicans should discuss their plans openly with the public, according to a new CBS News poll released Tuesday.
"If you have a good bill, a bill that actually helps people, you don't need to keep it secret," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, declared, as the crowd that had gathered to hear the Democratic lawmakers broke into a chant of "No hearing! No vote!"
All 46 Democratic senators in addition to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Sen. Angus King of Maine, are expected to oppose the proposed health care bill, and are attempting to convince just three of the 52 Republican senators to join them in their opposition to the bill, which needs just a simple majority to pass.
"Let me tell you what I believe: today as we stand here, they don't have the votes yet," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who also described the Republican's draft of the bill "morally bankrupt" and "evil."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is aiming for a vote on the health care bill before Congress begins its week-long July 4 recess.
"I expect to have a discussion draft on Thursday and we will go to the bill obviously once we get a [Congressional Budget Office] score -- likely next week," McConnell told reporters Tuesday.