GOP Looks To Make Its Case At Health Summit While Democrats Remain Skeptical
Politico reports that the White House's Feb. 25 health care summit with Democrats and Republicans "gives the GOP a venue to accomplish something it hasn't been able to do since President Barack Obama took the oath of office: Sell voters on Republican solutions to big problems." But Republicans have so far failed to capitalize because of the lack of a visible figure to champion their causes. Candidates to do so for the GOP include Sen. Olympia Snowe, Rep. Paul Ryan or Rep. Tom Price, each with a unique position on health reform.
"Republican insiders say the GOP leaders must approach the event carefully - and do their best to tilt the odds in their favor, which can be difficult to do when facing the president on his own turf about one of his top issues" (O'Connor and Budoff Brown, 2/11).
The Associated Press reports that congressional Democrats themselves remain skeptical that the summit can resolve any issues between themselves and the president or their issues with the Republicans. "But with the legislation languishing, the bipartisan health care summit Obama has set for later this month almost has to break the logjam, even if neither Democrats nor Republicans are particularly excited about it. Either the two parties come together against all odds or the event demonstrates that no bipartisan outcome is possible, spurring Democrats to act alone." Democrats see only a few scenarios from the summit, Republicans could founder giving Democrats the ammunition they need to pass their bills, Obama could leave the summit with an agreement in place with Republicans to pass a bill with bipartisan support or the meeting could hurt the overall effort and end up killing the overhaul legislation (Werner, 2/12).
The Christian Science Monitor: The summit is "also giving House and Senate Democratic leaders a window and a deadline to negotiate differences between the Senate and House reform bills, so that the president comes to the Feb. 25 televised bipartisan meeting with a coherent plan to discuss." Several pro-reform groups are urging the Senate and the House to come to an agreement on the legislation before the meeting (Russell Chaddock, 2/11).
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