Senator Rand Paul, R-Ken., went in search of the bill on Thursday but was prevented from obtaining a copy of the legislation.
But when he was told he could not see it, he railed against his colleagues for a lack of transparency during an impromptu news conference. And I call on them to make this process transparent and to let the sunshine in.
Except, as it turned out, the bill wasn't there.
"We should replace on the same day", he said. That decision was driven by widespread criticism of President Barack Obama for failing to live up to his famous promise that if people liked their health plan they could keep it. Out they came about 30 seconds afterward.
Another GOP rebel, Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, said that at a presentation Thursday, leaders played clips of Trump's joint session speech, with the goal of convincing lawmakers that they were aligned with the president on the pending bill.
There was video. Around 4:40. Frank Pallone (NJ) stopped in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA)'s office to try to see the bill, and similarly found no joy there.
"Reports that the Energy and Commerce Committee is doing anything other the regular process of keeping its members up to speed on latest developments in its jurisdictions are false", the committee chairman, Greg Walden (R-Ore.), said in a statement. "In that form and absent of substantial changes, I can not vote for the bill, and, in good conscience, can not recommend RSC members to vote for it either".
"We didn't get a chance to use it", he said of the copy machine. "If you'd recall, when Obamacare was passed in 2009 and 2010, Nancy Pelosi said, 'You'll know what's in it after you pass it.' The Republican Party shouldn't act in the same way". Pallone, along with his Democratic House colleagues Jan Schakowsky, from IL, and Joseph Crowley, from NY, also stopped by. He didn't get anywhere there, either.
"We're on a treasure hunt, I guess", said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat from IL.
After rumors that Republicans have been hiding their Affordable Care Act repeal and replacement bill somewhere in Congress in order to keep it out of prying Democratic eyes, a Democratic senator is engaging in some good old fashioned showmanship.
At one point, a GOP staff member allowed House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy and a dozen or so reporters into the room to inspect it themselves to see that it was, in fact, bill-less.
He tweeted after the incident: "I have been told that the House Obamacare bill is under lock & key, in a secure location, & not available for me or the public to view".
Republicans are "working very closely with the Trump administration" on the proposal, Ryan told reporters later at his weekly media briefing.