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Durbin: Hard To Support Additional Health Care Tax


Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he agrees with Vice President Joe Biden that taxing employer-based health insurance is not a good remedy for the health care crisis.

"Max Baucus has a tough assignment," Durbin said of the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who is proposing such a option.

As for voting for a plan which includes a tax on existing benefits, Durbin said, "It would not be easy for me to do."

When asked by Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer about the perils of proposing taxes, Durbin said, "Keep in mind that everyone today faces a hidden tax" in health insurance premiums which Americans absorb to cover the uninsured.

Durbin congratulated the president on targeting the first $600 billion in heath care savings, calling Mr. Obama's suggested cuts "reasonable and logical," and he noted that it is now up to Congress to come up with the rest of the money needed to reform what he called an "unsustainable" system.

On Senator McConnell's admission that Senate Republicans would work to block the president from closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Durbin said, "He takes his position with Vice President Cheney and Mr. Limbaugh. I happen to side with General Colin Powell and General Petraeus.

"I believe Guantanamo should be closed. It's a recruiting tool for terrorists around the world," Durbin said.

More from Face The Nation (6.14.09):

  • McConnell: Public Health Option A "Non-Starter"
  • McConnell: Gitmo A "Perfect Place" For Terrorists
  • Schieffer: Remembering Tim Russert
  • Read The Complete Transcript> (pdf)

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