Republican leaders in the House on Monday challenged President Barack Obama's call for a bipartisan summit on healthcare reform, asking instead if the White House is willing to scrap the current bills in favor of a legislative do-over that would include GOP input.
Obama's health summit gets chilly GOP response
In a letter, sent to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia questioned the president's sincerity in his call of bipartisanship, landing a few pointed jabs in the process.
“If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate,” the letter states.
On Sunday, Obama said he would convene a bipartisan health reform summit on Feb. 25 where ideas from both sides of the political spectrum would be debated—and all in front of a national television audience.
While short of setting lines in the sand, House Republicans strongly urged the White House to eliminate the possibility that a bill could pass using a legislative procedure known as reconciliation, which would effectively allow a bill to pass on a simple majority vote in the Senate.
But in a return volley, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama sought GOP input from the get go.
“The president looks forward to reviewing Republican proposals that meet the goals he laid out at the beginning of this process, and as recently as the State of the Union Address,” Gibbs said in a written statement. “He's open to including any good ideas that stand up to objective scrutiny. What he will not do, however, is walk away from reform and the millions of American families and small business counting on it.”
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