Sen. Murphy: While Democrats’ Focus on Trump/Russia, Republicans Working on Health Care, Taxes

By Susan Jones | May 18, 2017 | 7:34 AM EDT

While Democrats and liberal media outlets talk non-stop about leaks from the Trump-Russia probe, Republicans are moving ahead on health care and tax reform. That worries some Democrats. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

( - The media obsession with all things Trump and Russia has pushed the nation’s other business out of the headlines, but all the media buzz has served as “cloud cover” for Republicans who are continuing to advance their agenda behind the scenes, said Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

“My worry, frankly, is that this has been cloud cover for a process that has continued, specifically on the issue of repealing the Affordable Care Act,” Murphy told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Thursday.

Murphy said Senate Republicans “have continued to meet” this week, as they try to write a health care reform bill to send to the House. “And that has been able to happen without a lot of big public questions being asked because of all this concern and obsession and unfolding story about Russia.”

Murphy repeated the Democrat talking point that the Republican health care bill potentially could strip health care from 24 million Americans, who would no longer be mandated by the government to purchase health insurance.

“So there are some really impactful things happening to my constituents that probably aren’t getting the coverage they deserve,” Murphy said. “My worry is, is that a week from now we get a bill dropped on the Senate that nobody’s really talked about because the focus has been elsewhere.

“We’re going to have to shift some of this back to domestic policy, because that agenda, I don’t think has stopped while this story has moved very quickly in the last few days.”

At a news conference two days ago (Tuesday), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republican senators have been having “extensive discussions about the way forward on health care.”

“We’ll be doing that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday -- trying to come together behind a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

And as Senate Republicans work on health care, House Republicans are moving forward on tax reform.

Today (Thursday), the House Ways and Means Committee will hold the first of several hearings on efforts to reform the tax code. “This hearing will be an opportunity to examine how pro-growth tax reform will help us create jobs and grow our economy,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told a news conference on Wednesday.

Ryan also wanted the American people to know that Republicans are “busy” doing their jobs, despite the Democrat furor over Trump-Russia:

“I think people in America turn on the TV, and they think this is all that's happening, this is all we're doing and all we're discussing," Ryan said on Wednesday.

“That's just not the case. I want the American people to know that we're busy, hard at work fixing their problems…The point I want to make here is -- you've heard me say this before -- we're going to walk and chew gum at the same time. We're going to keep doing our jobs. We're going to keep passing our bills.

“We're going to keep advancing our reforms that we were elected to advance while we do all these other things that are within our responsibility. And that's what we'll be judged (on) in 2018.”

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