Republicans have been whining recently about being shut out of the drafting of health care reform legislation.
President Obama has cut off communication with Republican leaders, going more than four months without hosting the bipartisan congressional leadership at the White House to discuss his health care proposal, the No. 2 Republican in the House said Wednesday.Maybe that has something to with the fact that Republicans have made clear that as many concessions as Obama was willing to make, Republicans didn't have a single one of their own. Not one. There was nothing Democrats could do to get GOP support. They simply wouldn't vote for anything remotely infringing on the insurance companies' ability to screw patients over.
Satisfying every Republican demand short of scrapping the entire project, said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), would still not capture GOP support.So they're not willing to make concessions, they're not willing to vote for anything, make up outrageous lies about killing grandmothers, and then they whine about being cut out of the process? The only frustration has been Democrats' insistence on making something work. Cantor may not be getting any phone calls from the White House, but Olympia Snowe is now co-president, and don't get me started on Max Baucus.
"Senator Kyl and some of the others have talked about some of the things that are happening in committee," McConnell told reporters, referring to Senate Finance Committee Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona.
"But the core point is this: At the end of the day, if the government plan is either in the bill or out of the bill, whether they will be able to argue successfully or not whether tax funds are gonna be provided for abortion, whether or not they will be able to argue at the end that dollars for health care for illegals is in or out, what we do know is what the core of the bill is going to look like. We know that for sure," he said.
But it looks as Republicans are pretty much finished. Democratic patience has run out.
Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said today Republicans will not be at the table when the Senate merges the health-care bills from two committees before sending one to the floor.Definitely progress. Will it be a robust public option, or some piece of crap? Time will tell, but at least we have a fighting chance with Democrats monopolizing the process. The time for GOP shenanigans is over (including Olympia Snowe's games). This will be a Democratic bill, so scrap all idiotic compromises trying to bring GOP support along, and draft the best possible bill. Then twist some arms to get the 60 Democrats to vote for cloture, even if a bunch defect on the final vote. This is the reason Obama and Reid told us we had to tolerate Lieberman. Time to deliver.
Harkin, a Democrat and chairman of one of the committees, also said any bill that passes Congress will include a government-run insurance option for Americans to buy.
“We will have a bill on the president’s desk before Christmas, a health-reform bill. It will have a lot of good stuff in it. It will have a lot of prevention and wellness programs in there that I’ve been fighting for,” Harkin told reporters in a morning conference call. “And it will have a public option.”
“The question of if it doesn’t isn’t even an option,” he added [...]
Asked whether Republicans would be at the table when Harkin’s committee’s bill is merged with legislation pending in the Senate Finance Committee, Harkin said no.
“No, this will be a proposal by the Democrats to bring a bill on the floor. And that’s what I have said before, that the people of this country — I keep saying — the people of this country pretty overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama last fall and to make changes,” he said. “The people of this country overwhelmingly elected Democrats to the House and Senate.”
(More on the conference committee news in this recommended diary.)