Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Democrats Seem Set to Go Alone on a Health Bill

The Republicans weren't going to go along with anything anyway. New York Times story here.

WASHINGTON — Given hardening Republican opposition to Congressional health care proposals, Democrats now say they see little chance of the minority’s cooperation in approving any overhaul, and are increasingly focused on drawing support for a final plan from within their own ranks.

Top Democrats said Tuesday that their go-it-alone view was being shaped by what they saw as Republicans’ purposely strident tone against health care legislation during this month’s Congressional recess, as well as remarks by leading Republicans that current proposals were flawed beyond repair.

The White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said of Republican lawmakers, “Only a handful seem interested in the type of comprehensive reform that so many people believe is necessary to ensure the principles and the goals that the president has laid out.” . . .

The White House, carefully following [Ohio Sen. Charles] Grassley’s activities, presumed he was no longer interested in negotiating with Democrats after he initially made no effort to debunk misinformation that the legislation could lead to “death panels” empowered to judge who would receive care. . . .

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Grassley said he had simply been repeating earlier comments that he would not support a measure that did not have significant Republican support. He said that raucous town-hall-style meetings might have made the job of reaching a compromise harder, but that he had not given up. . . .

The American people, fed up with business as usual, have elected 60 Democratic Senators--a 60% majority (almost unheard of). Why should a healthcare bill have "significant Republican support"? Again, who won? This is how the American democratic system works. The Republicans had their chance to get with the program and have refused.

Here's something they've added to the article since I first read it:

Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, said the heated opposition was evidence that Republicans had made a political calculation to draw a line against any health care changes, the latest in a string of major administration proposals that Republicans have opposed.

“The Republican leadership,” Mr. Emanuel said, “has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama’s health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day.”


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