GOP Leaders Keep Up The Criticism About Democratic-Backed Health Overhaul Plans
Republicans are standing united - mostly - against health care reform in Congress as they try to make the case that Democratic-backed reforms are the wrong way to go.
The New York Times: "The Republicans' opposition is a remarkable display of the unity emerging against the broader Obama agenda as a dangerous expansion of government. That stance is popular with, even demanded by, the party's narrowed conservative base. But it also exposes Republicans to criticism that they have become political obstructionists" and are offering no policy alternatives. The New York Times notes that "could keep them from extending their appeal to the centrist voters who are essential to rebuilding the party's strength nationally." Republicans, however, are sure the nation's politics are on their side. "'We're the party of know: k-n-o-w,' said Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of House Republicans' campaign committee" (Calmes, 10/15).
The Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal reports that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday while in Ohio that Democrats are moving too quickly on reform. "'I'm a little bit bothered by the pace. I've said from the very beginning that it is in the best interest of the nation, but most especially in the best interest of the doctor/patient relationship, that we take our time, be deliberate and do it right'" (Golz, 10/15).
Roll Call: Republican congressional leaders also are sounding off about Democrats' reform efforts, accusing them of trying to "avoid public scrutiny" and promising an intense debate on the Senate floor. "'I don't know what's going on in Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi's [D-Calif.] office, I don't know what's going on over in Reid's office under the direction of the president's chief of staff,' House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday in reference to closed-door meetings being held in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office to put together the final health care package" (Stanton, 10/15).
NBC News: Boehner also joined forces with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Boehner said (health reform) will create more government bureaucracy at the expense of doctors and patients; McConnell echoed the sentiment, saying the plan calls for higher premiums, higher taxes, and a reduction in Medicare benefits" (Cline, 10/15).