Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed frustration with negotiations on healthcare reform and alleged that the Democratic leadership has shunted him and his fellow Republicans to the side.
In the rush to pass national healthcare legislation, the Democrats imposed an artificial deadline on the Gang of Six "without clearly committing to a broad bipartisan bill," the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance said in a statement his office released, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We're operating under an artificial deadline set by the Democratic leadership and the White House,” Grassley said of the bipartisan group of six senators.
“I'm disappointed because it looks like we're being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage that we set forth when this process began.”
Grassley, one of three Republicans negotiating with Democrats during the legislative process, said he and his colleagues have been clear from the start that they are willing to stay at the table and “keep working until we get it right. In the end, legislation that impacts every American should have strong bipartisan support.”
Grassley said one of the major problems with the Finance Committee bill the Democrats are proposing is that, even if the bill becomes bipartisan, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way.
“An overriding issue for some time has been the fact that members of the Democratic leadership haven't made a commitment to back a broad bipartisan bill through the entire process,” Grassley said. “[The bill] should have strong bipartisan support.”
In addition to concerns about costs to taxpayers and affordability for individuals, Grassley said, “there are still some serious outstanding issues that have yet to be resolved, like preventing taxpayer funding of abortion services and the enforcement against subsidies for illegal aliens.”
Grassley said he is pressing for alternatives to the individual mandate and ways to lower the overall cost of the bill, as well as tougher medical liability reform measures.
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