House conservatives were put off by leadership’s hastily scrambled voice vote to prevent deep cuts in reimbursement to physicians who treat Medicare patients, several lawmakers said today.
Speaking at the monthly Conversations with Conservatives panel, Republican members of the House of Representatives argued that their leadership had promised them a floor vote on a bill that extended the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula in Medicare for 12 months.
The extension, known as a “doc fix,” avoided a 24 percent cut in payments to Medicare physicians, which would have put seniors at risk for limited access to care. But rather than conducting a roll-call vote last month after the time allotted for debate, the presiding member executed a voice vote that occurred in seconds.
“I can’t think of a time where I felt that my trust had been more violated since I’ve been here, and that’s pretty stiff competition if you stop to think about it,” said Rep. Rick Mulvaney (R-S.C.). “The negative reaction goes well beyond the group of people that you see here.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) accused House leadership of being in on the voice vote to meet a final agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “They hid that vote,” Huelskamp said. “They didn’t do that on behalf of us.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said the move was a blow to a Congress that has struggled to gain trust with the American public. “That move was very disappointing for, I think, the majority of us,” he said.
Mulvaney said members have asked House leaders to pay for the “doc fix” and provide assurances that quick voice votes won’t be used for difficult bills. “We’ll give them time to do that, but it has to be done,” he said.
A House leadership aide, who asked not to be identified, told The Foundry that leadership has reached out to angry conservative lawmakers. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) attended two closed-door meetings last week to air grievances.
“If someone had objected to the voice vote, we would have taken a roll call vote,” the aide said.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.