GOP Plots Ways to Fight Health Care

health care

Republicans today blasted the Democrats' revised health care plan, calling it wasteful spending, and vowed to continue fighting it -- even in the event that it passes.

Democrats praised the bill today for cutting the federal deficit according to projections, but Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) focused on the price tag: $940 billion.

"The only thing that remains the same is that the American taxpayer will be on the hook to pay for it," he said.

Democrats have been quick to point out the bill is mostly paid for by reducing waste and fraud in Medicare, although the rest of it will be paid for with a "fee" on unearned income for families making more than $250,000, as well as the "Cadillac" excise tax on expensive insurance plans.

Republicans think their best chance for killing the bill is in the House, where it will be up for a vote this weekend.

"Our plan is for it to be defeated here in the house in the next few days," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said today, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer John Nolen reports.

Republicans have been studying the Senate rules to plan a way to pick apart and slowly kill the reconciliation "fix it" bill if it actually passes the House and comes before the Senate, Politico reports. However, every bill ever brought to the Senate floor via reconciliation -- a procedure that only takes 51 votes for approval -- has passed.

"If it gets here, it will pass," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said, according to Politico. "It only requires 50 votes plus the vice president, so that is an easy hurdle for them."

With that in mind, Republicans have been putting pressure on House Democrats to break from their party.

It's clear "this is no longer an argument between Republicans and Democrats," McConnell said today, Nolen reports. "It's an argument between Democrats and their own constituents."

When she unveiled the bill today, Pelosi said the public should expect to hear "mischaracterizations [and] misrepresentations" from Republicans attempting to intimidate House Democrats.

It appears to be a very real possibility, however, that not enough House Democrats will support the measure for it to pass. The GOP has hammered the Democrats for the "special deals" negotiated to win over wavering Democrats, and will continue to do so if any more deals are made, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) suggested today.

Coburn said he would block all future Obama administration nominations of members of Congress who switch their votes from "no" to "yes," Politico reports -- in other words, Coburn said, members who "sold their vote for a nomination."

"Be prepared to defend selling your vote in the House," he reportedly said at a news conference with other GOP doctors.

If the bill does reach the president's desk, as many as 37 House and Senate Republicans -- and 163 congressional candidates -- have already signed a pledge to try and repeal the measure should the GOP win back either the House or Senate this fall, the Washington Post reports.

Watch the Democrats' and Republicans' dueling messages, which were featured on today's CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged":


More Coverage of the Health Care Reform Debate:

Everybody's Talking But Can We Hear a Word They're Saying?
The Hunt for Health Care Votes: Democrats to Watch
Dem Health Care Bill Pegged at $940B Over 10 Years
Washington Unplugged: Nancy Cordes on the Final Countdown
Temperature Rising for Health Care Votes
Health Care Passage Plan Unconstitutional?
Obama Pushes Health Care Bill in Combative Fox Interview
Pelosi: Health Care Bill "Best Initiative" for the Economy
Republicans Have Used "Slaughter Solution" Many Times
Stupak's Life a "Living Hell" because of Abortion Position
Obama's Health Care Plan: What Do You Think?
CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care

Comments