GOP Introduces Legislation To Repeal Health Reform; Other Senators Express Reconciliation Views
USA Today: Sen. Jim DeMint - along with a dozen Republican co-sponsors - introduced legislation to repeal the health care reform law. "We must repeal this bill and start over. There are common-sense solutions we can implement to expand health care freedom and choices, lower premiums and increase quality. But this bill will force taxpayer funding of abortions, raise health costs, hike taxes, cut Medicare, raid Social Security, and put bureaucrats between patients and their doctors," DeMint said in a statement (Kiely, 3/23).
Chicago Sun-Times: In response, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office issued a release: "Congressional Republicans are calling for the repeal of the legislation and for a return to the status quo. But which of these provisions - which will be available immediately - do they want to repeal?" The memo then lists several components of the bill that Democrats have touted as key components to helping Americans pay for health coverage such as small business tax credits and rebates to seniors who have fallen in the Medicare "doughnut hole" and pay higher prescription drug costs (Sweet, 3/23).
Roll Call: Sen. Max Baucus said Tuesday that the Senate might have to make changes to the House-passed health reconciliation bill. "But Baucus cautioned that there are only one or two provisions that Democrats feel could be subject to a Republican point of order and that they are 'minor.' Still, he reiterated that Senate Democrats' goal is to pass the reconciliation measure of 'fixes' to the Senate-passed bill 'as is - no changes.' The Senate Parliamentarian has yet to rule on most of the provisions Republicans claim that the reconciliation bill violates" (Pierce, 3/23).
Politico's Live Pulse: "Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, said he will submit a statement into the Congressional Record that the health care reconciliation bill contains nothing that would be subject to the Byrd Rule. 'We find nothing that constitutes a Byrd Rule violation,' Conrad told reporters. 'We think the bill is completely clean.'" The Byrd rule says that provisions in a reconciliation bill that don't affect the budget can be thrown out of the bill. The statement is a formality in the reconciliation office, but it's significant because if the reconciliation bill is changed in any way, the House must again pass the legislation after the Senate does (Budoff Brown, 3/23).