House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have the votes to pass a major healthcare bill because the American people simply don’t want it.
Cantor, R-Va., told MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” show that constituents all across the nation have spoken and said they don’t like the bill that President Barack Obama and the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress. Merely holding a healthcare summit Thursday in Washington won’t bring bipartisanship to the bill.
“The buzz around Washington right now is the inevitability that this healthcare bill is going to pass, that we are somehow going to go to this healthcare summit and there will be a decision on the part of Speaker Pelosi and Harry Reid to go ahead and jam this bill through,” Cantor said.
“Speaker Pelosi doesn’t have the votes in the House. That’s just where we are, and it’s indicative of the fact that the American people don’t like this healthcare bill.”
In a memo to the Republican caucus Wednesday morning, Cantor wrote that House Democrats are farther away from securing the votes to pass a government healthcare bill today than they have ever been, and that they will never be able to muster the votes needed to pass a Senate reconciliation bill in the House.
“What we are trying to do in preparation of going to the healthcare summit with the president tomorrow,” Cantor told MSNBC, “is indicate that things are so bad around this healthcare bill that it is futile for [the Democrats] to continue to try and push something on the American people that, frankly, won’t result in better healthcare.”
Cantor said he and his fellow Republicans are going to the healthcare summit because they truly care about people’s healthcare.
“We want to do something to help improve the quality and reduce the cost,” he said, “but we just don’t care for this bill. And neither do the American people.”
Cantor said both the Democrats and Republicans do, however, agree on one thing: that the president’s healthcare summit Thursday won’t get lawmakers any closer to a bipartisan bill.
“The spirit of compromise would be to push the reset button and try and do some things that will actually affect positive change,” Cantor said. “It’s not that the goal behind this bill, which is to increase coverage and reduce costs, aren’t valid; it’s that the bill itself is flawed. It does not produce a positive outcome, nor does it reduce overall healthcare costs in this country.
Cantor noted that the Democrats’ plan to reform healthcare basically is “an unsustainable formula” that will not allow the American people to continue to enjoy the healthcare they have. He said that is the reason why Pelosi, D-Calif., doesn’t have the votes in the House.
“The American people have spoken up,” Cantor explained. They don’t like this bill; they reject it.”
Cantor said the only way healthcare reform will pass is to focus on what the American people want right now, and that true bi-partisanship is needed to produce a bill that will satisfy the American people.
“There are things that we [Republicans and Democrats] agree on,” Cantor said. “One is the ability for people to purchase insurance across state lines, which will promote competition. Don’t have the government impose what these insurance plans will look like. Give people the opportunity to choose.
Cantor said another tenant to a bipartisan bill both parties can agree to is to address frivolous lawsuits clogging the system and adding to the cost.
“The president has indicated that he thought that is a good idea,” Cantor said. “Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi has not moved in one way toward accomplishing that end.
“There are people that aren’t getting insurance because they are sick. We all agree we have to do something about that. But we’ve got to do something that won’t cost everyone else the healthcare that they know.
“Republicans care about improving healthcare for families, and lowering costs,” Cantor said. “We believe there is a sustainable way to do that. But the way is not in the bill that the president is pushing, which is essentially the same, repackaged Senate bill. That’s not what the American people want.”
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