Dems Say It’s Go Time On Health Reform Bill
Democrats in both the Senate and the House are urging action on health reform bills in Congress, with one Congressman suggesting they do so or delay their August recess, The Associated Press reports.
"Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking House Democrat, said a Thursday morning, 90-minute meeting of the leadership was particularly contentious. He said lawmakers should abandon plans for their month-long break if the House hasn't passed a health care bill. We must stay here and get this thing done,' he said at a news conference. 'I feel very strongly about that. ... I think it will affect our standing with the American people if we don't do this.'"
"House Republican Whip Eric Cantor complained Thursday that too much of the burden of bankrolling a new health care system would fall on small businesses at a time when job creation is virtually nonexistent.
"At the same time, the Virginia Republican said he doubts that a version of the plan in the House can win passage before members of Congress leave for their August recess. 'If they're going to get this passed next week, it's going to have to be a changed bill,' he said."
Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, also expressed frustration. "It's time for them to fish or cut bait,"' he said, referring to members of the Senate Finance Committee, "which has struggled to come up with a bipartisan bill to fulfill Obama's goal of expanding coverage to millions who lack it and containing rising costs. Harkin said the panel has waited too long and should push out a bill with as much support as it can get" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 7/23).
Politico: "Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday the Senate will not be passing a health care bill before the August recess. But on Thursday morning, Durbin declined to say definitively that a bill vote was not possible before the August recess, saying it depends on the progress of the Finance Committee" (O'Connor, 7/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.