INSIDE WASHINGTON: Writing a bill in private not unusual

Schumer, just a day prior to the governors' letter, had sent his own letter across the aisle to McConnell - conspicuously crossing out "Majority Leader McConnell" in his salutation and scrawling in "Mitch" - requesting a meeting of all 100 senators for a free and open discussion of health-care legislation.

"I think absolutely we should truncate or cancel recess".

Lawmakers hope to have a plan for the budget by the end of the month. Critics have estimated that the House bill would curtail Medicaid by some Dollars 800 billion, and some Republican senators from states where Medicaid was expanded under Obama have expressed concern about passing legislation that slashes aid to thousands of constituents.

That pales compared to how the Democratic-run Congress handled Obama's legislation.

Behind-the-scenes: McConnell and Senate leaders have been at this for all of May and now first couple weeks of June, turning their weekly lunches into working sessions on various aspects of the healthcare legislation. In the House, conservatives have written to McConnell to express concern about reports that say the Senate may water down the House bill.

The legislation didn't become law until March 2010.

McConnell's attempt to craft an Obamacare replacement behind closed doors has muted public focus on the coming debate, which groups say could help him get enough Republican support to pass the measure.

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There were plenty of hiccups that Democratic leaders resolved or tried to settle privately.

Lacking the votes to derail or change the Republican process, the maneuvers by the Democratic minority seemed more aimed at highlighting Republican efforts on a controversial issue.

There were private talks between Reid and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after the late Sen. Closed-door discussions were also used to resolve differences with anti-abortion Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of MI that threatened the bill's passage.

"They're talking about a whole new way of delivering health care" and people don't know the details, Stupak said of Republicans.

In a show of frustration with what they deem the GOP's "shameful" and "secret" legislative process, Democrats on Monday also held the Senate floor with a series of back-to-back speeches.

Sanders' prediction that the AHCA is a disaster is not a far leap to make - after all, earlier versions of the bill were universally panned and even Republicans found it hard to defend the loss of coverage to their constituents.

An occasional look at how Washington works behind the scenes.

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