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The Republican Senate’s all-male health care working group says women aren’t being excluded.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, little question on the lookout for a lady to hitch his health care working group.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Quit your bellyaching, women—Senate Republican leaders have heard your complaints that their working group on health care reform included 13 males and no women and responded that, truly, “Everybody’s at the table.” “Nobody’s being excluded based on gender,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC News on Tuesday.

Was everybody on the similar desk, although? Maybe some individuals thought the assembly was at one desk and another individuals thought it was at one other desk, basic kitchen vs. eating room confusion? What is a group, actually, and what’s membership, anyway? Because regardless of reports that a female senator may have been invited to join the group in an as-yet-unclear capacity and that everybody is welcome, it stays that each one 13 members named to the Senate’s health care working group are male.

After the American Health Care Act, which might roll back many of the Affordable Care Act’s protections, handed the House of Representatives final week, its subsequent cease is the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put collectively a group made from up 13 senators, all males, to deal with the difficulty and work on laws. The group included McConnell himself and ultraconservative senators like Ted Cruz, who has advocated prior to now for an entire ACA repeal, however no women, and this “speaks volumes about his direction and has raised eyebrows,” the New York Times reported Monday.

The group’s make-up drew criticism from CNN host Erin Burnett and Democrats like California Sen. Kamala Harris, amongst many others: “Thirteen men are deciding the future of American health care tonight,” Burnett stated on air. “Why couldn’t they find one woman to represent the concerns of 126 million female adults in the United States of America?” With a group of 13 males, the 13 Reasons Why (American Doesn’t Have Health Care) Saturday Night Live parody/mashup virtually writes itself.

Though the group originally defended itself—“We have no interest in playing the games of identity politics”—now McConnell is trying to downplay that each one its members are male. He suggested reporters to dedicate extra consideration to coverage and fewer to gender politics. This squares with what an nameless White House official advised as CNN’s Elizabeth Landers.

Are McConnell and co. downplaying that the working group is all male as a result of they realized how necessary it’s for women’s voices to be represented? Of course not. What they really care about is “optics,” or what this seems like, as Landers tweeted. And we will anticipate optics to be addressed, therefore Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s look at a gathering on Tuesday, however not the precise substance. McConnell tried to attract a distinction between gender politics and coverage, however on this case, the gender politics and optics are mere reflections of the truth that the ultra-conservative males who’ve been put in control of our health care don’t notably care about defending women’s health. Even in the event that they begrudgingly agreed to incorporate a token lady within the working group, they’ve already made clear the place their priorities lie.

It’s fascinating to take a look at which constituent considerations lawmakers make strikes to deal with and which of them they determine they and we will all reside with. Some individuals complain that this working group consists of no women, so superb, they’ll let a feminine senator sit in on the conferences so long as she’s not made an actual member, as Capito does not appear to have been. And some individuals complain that the Republican candidate for president is just not match for the workplace as a result of he was caught on tape bragging about sexual assault, however nothing occurs. Those, too, have been some fascinating optics.

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