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A Democratic senator's simple request to restore order in chaotic times.

Sen. Brian Schatz needs three Republican senators to take a stand in the name of normalcy.

A Democratic senator's simple request to restore order in chaotic times.

Nobody really knows what's in the Senate's health care bill. It's a massive problem that needs to be addressed, so that's what Sen. Brian Schatz did.

Monday night, the Hawaii Democrat took to the Senate floor to criticize how his colleagues are handling their chamber's version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill, which is being written in secret by 13 Republican men, is expected to come up for a vote as early as next week. Understandably, that has some senators (and, you know, the American people) a bit stressed out by what has turned out to be a super-shady process.

In his floor speech, Schatz called on leadership to release the bill and let it "see the light of day."


All GIFs from Brian Schatz/YouTube.

A push for more transparency — especially when it comes to how our laws get made — isn't a Democratic or Republican issue. It's about accountability.

In 2010, now-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (who was a member of Congress at the time) pushed for "a little sunlight."

Vice President Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, spoke out against "legislation that'll affect 100% of the American people" being put together in secret.

And Sen. John Cornyn made a similar push to include "the rest of America that was excluded from secret talks" on health care reform.

Of course, in 2010, Price, Pence, and Cornyn were all talking about a different health care bill: the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

Back then, the argument that the ACA was being written in "secret" was mostly hyperbole. Today, what's happening with the AHCA is unprecedented.

Andy Slavitt worked closely with Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA's design and implementation during President Obama's term. On Twitter, he recently laid out the major differences between the Senate's process in 2009 and 2010, when it was considering the ACA, and what's happening in 2017 with the AHCA.

While the process for the ACA in 2010 certainly could have been more transparent, there's no denying the difference between 36 days of hearings and 18 days of markup then to absolutely nothing at all now — from 26 days of scheduled floor debate to as little as 20 hours. There's a big difference between the two processes, and whatever transparency problems existed back in 2010 have gotten much worse in 2017.

Like so much else in 2017, this secretive process is not normal.

Schatz's speech was a call to action for members of both parties to no longer let "not normal" be normal.

"This is the world's greatest deliberative body," said Schatz, referring to a sometimes tongue-in-cheek nickname for the Senate and its reputation for exhaustive debate on important pieces of legislation compared to the rapid-fire workings of the House of Representatives.

"Let the Senate be the Senate," he urged his Republican colleagues, hoping to find three who are willing to take a stand in the name of restoring order. If, after debating the bill on its merits in the light of day, the Senate passes it, at least it would be a return to how things are supposed to work.

It's easy to pin the breakdown of our political process on President Trump, but the truth is our legislators have the power to restore order — if they want to.

This isn't about Trump; it's about men and women, some of whom have been in Congress for decades, exploiting the new "everything goes" attitude in Washington where nothing seems to matter.

But this bill certainly does matter — to Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Wherever we stand with our own personal politics, we should all be able to agree these types of massive decisions shouldn't be made in secret and shouldn't be rushed.

We need to say "no" to "not normal," and that starts with calling our senators and asking them to take a principled stand on the process behind this bill.

Watch a portion of Schatz's speech below.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

via Tom Ward / Instagram

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