GOP Lawmaker Set To Release Health Care ‘Declaration’
Republicans are seeking consensus on health care now that Democrats can no longer go it alone, having lost their filibuster-proof 60-vote Senate majority, NPR reports. Senior Republicans are "shopping around" policy ideas they say everyone could agree with "off the bat," including a cap on certain malpractice damages and allowing insurers to sell plans across state lines. But, some observers note that even when they were in the majority, Republicans failed to agree even on those issues (Rovner, 1/26).
Nevertheless, congressional Republicans plan to release a vision for health reform Wednesday, the same day President Obama delivers his State of the Union address, the St. Cloud, Minn., Times reports. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., relayed a sketch of it at a news conference Monday. "The declaration won't prescribe specific reforms, but would lay down 'rules of the road' for bipartisan health care negotiations, Bachmann said," including the requirement that negotiations be conducted in public and that the final plan not increase the deficit. The plan is titled the "Declaration of Health Care Independence" (Sommerhauser, 1/26).
Bachmann, "a darling of the conservative Tea Party movement," said, "We are rejecting politics as usual in Washington D.C. in dealing with this health care issue," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The paper contacted the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party and added: "Minnesota DFLers called Monday's news conference a 'publicity stunt' by Bachmann, whose Sixth Congressional District includes St. Cloud" (1/25).
Friday, President Obama will speak by invitation to House Republicans during their annual retreat, The Washington Post reports. "[T]he session could herald better relations between the two sides in 2010 -- or lift their tensions to an even higher level." After much finger pointing over who was responsible for the White House's and GOP's failure to work together, one House Republican leader said his members wanted a stronger relationship with the president, but that the conversation "has to be a two-way street" (Bacon Jr., 1/26).