Kyl Says GOP Won’t Support Co-op Proposal
"The number two Senate Republican said Tuesday replacing a public health care option with a nonprofit private cooperative wouldn't win any more Republican support, saying they are essentially the same thing," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), said Republican objections were more fundamental than simply changing the name of a new national entity to compete with private medical insurers."
Kyl called the co-op plan a "Trojan horse," and told reporters on a conference call that "even if the idea of a public option and that of a medical review for older people by their doctor were dropped... he doubted whether many Republicans would support Democrats' efforts to introduce sweeping health-care reforms." The senator is "one of the more conservative Senate Republicans, and so his views may not reflect those of more moderate minority lawmakers. But as minority whip, he... speaks on behalf of the party's leadership" (Boles, 8/18).
Meanwhile, CQ Politics reports that Senator Charles E. Grassley, R-Ia., the top Republican in the Senate Finance Committee's "gang of six" negotiators, "says he 'absolutely' would not support legislation that draws just three or four GOP votes, throwing into doubt whether the negotiations can yield any kind of bipartisan pact." He told MSNBC that "I'm negotiating for Republicans. If I can't negotiate something that gets more than four Republicans, I'm not a very good representative of my party." When the senator was "pressed as to whether he would vote against a bill he considered a good deal, he told MSNBC "It isn't a good deal unless I can sell my product to more Republicans." Grassley has been criticized by conservative Republicans in Iowa for his participation in the bipartisan health talks. He is running for reelection next year (8/18).