Republicans discouraged by Obama's healthcare speech
For GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the takeaway is that the president and the Democrats are poised to move without them.
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One option for moving a reform bill through the Senate is to use a procedure, called reconciliation, that allows legislation to clear with a simple majority, instead of the 60-vote supermajority that is standard for major legislation in the Senate. Leaders on both sides of the aisle have used it, but reluctantly because the procedure is complicated, risky, and typically incites the minority to be more obstructive on other issues.Skip to next paragraph
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Obama pointedly backed several GOP themes in his prime-time speech. For Americans who can’t get insurance today because they are diagnosed with pre-existing medical conditions, he cited a proposal by presidential rival John McCain, a senator from Arizona, to protect them against financial ruin.
“This was a good idea when Senator John McCain proposed it in the campaign. It’s a
good idea now, and we should all embrace it,” Obama said.
In a nod to GOP calls for tort reform, Obama backed a Bush administration proposal to authorize demonstration projects to test whether doctors' efforts to avoid malpractice suits are inflating healthcare costs.
“It’s a good idea, and I am directing my secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today,” he said.
But what GOP lawmakers took away from the speech were the president’s references to scare tactics, bogus claims, partisan spectacles, and lies, directed at them. And at least one took umbrage at Obama's statement that the reforms he is seeking would not grant health insurance to illegal immigrants.
“The president obviously said some good things, but this was a more partisan and strident speech than I had hoped for,” said Rep. David Dreier of California, the top Republican on the House Rules Committee.
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