Finally, finally, the Republican Congressional leadership has decided to stand up to the Obama Administration and walk away from a staged “bipartisan summit” concerning the health care bill that the White House and Congressional Democrats have probably already completed in secret, yet cannot pass without either legislative trickery or the defection of a number of Republicans.
On Friday, the House Republican leadership sent a letter to the Democratic Congressional leadership, challenging them to disavow news reports claiming that Democrat strategists had been working on ways to ram through a Congressional vote on the health care bill without the participation of Republicans:
To ensure we can move forward in good faith, we ask that you publicly disavow these reports and assure the American people that Democratic Leadership is not putting together any kind of backroom health care deal or plotting any kind of legislative trickery to pass it. Your response will help clarify whether Democratic Leadership is serious about genuine bipartisan negotiations and whether the proposed summit will be a truly open forum or merely an intramural exercise.
Ohio congressman and House Minority Leader John Boehner released another statement yesterday, essentially declining President Obama’s invitation to meet on February 25 and discuss health care reform:
A productive bipartisan discussion should begin with a clean sheet of paper. We now know that instead of starting the ‘bipartisan’ health care ‘summit’ on Feb. 25 with a clean sheet of paper, the president and his party intend to arrive with a new bill written behind closed doors exclusively by Democrats — a backroom deal that will transform one-sixth of our nation’s economy and affect every family and small business in America. They will then engage a largely handpicked audience in a televised ‘dialogue’ according to a script they have largely pre-determined. They will do this as a precursor to embarking on a legislative course that Democratic congressional aides acknowledge has also been pre-determined — a partisan course that relies on parliamentary tricks to circumvent the will of the American people and engineer a pre-determined outcome. It doesn’t sound much like bipartisanship to me.
Boehner also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Wednesday:
You know, we’ve asked the president all year to scrap this big government-takeover bill and let’s start with a clean sheet of paper. Let’s find out where we’ve got common ground and let’s try to do the common sense, step-by-step approach to making our current system work better.
Everyone knows that our health care system needs help. But I do think there are half a dozen things we can agree on. So why don’t we take this step-by-step approach? But I think starting with a bill that the Democrat majority in the House and Senate can’t pass is the wrong place to start the conversation.
Thank you Representatives Boehner, Cantor, and Pence. Naturally Republicans will be portrayed in the press as villains who refuse to dialog with the White House because they are sold out to the evil minions who run drug and health insurance companies. But now is the time for Republicans to keep hammering the basic message – The American people clearly do not want this health care bill, and the Democrats have completely excluded Republicans from the process of drafting it.
This giant, stinking turd of a bill solely belongs to the Democrats, and if they want credit for it so badly then I say give them everything they have coming to them.