Kyl pledges GOP still won't vote for health bill, despite compromise

The changes to the Senate's healthcare bill won't win Republican votes, Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) pledged Tuesday.

Kyl, the second-ranking GOP member of the Senate, said that the removal of a provision allowing individuals from ages 55-64 to buy into Medicare were "peripheral" to Republicans' concerns about the bill.

"No," Kyl flatly said during an appearance on Fox News when asked about the prospects for GOP support of the latest iteration of the health bill.

"As I said, Republicans, all of us, have far more serious concerns about the bill than that, and they've been expressed even by those Republicans who have been heavily courted by the White House," he explained.

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Senate Democratic leaders dropped the buy-in, which was itself a compromise in the stead of a public option, in a bid to win Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and other centrist Democrats' votes.

Kyl's pledge is especially interesting in light of Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this morning. Snowe had supported the health bill in the Senate Finance Committee, and has long been the object of Democrats' overtures. (Her Maine colleague, Sen. Susan Collins (R), signaled today she would not support the bill in its current form.)

"At the end of the day, I'm not sure that what they do with this or that particular provision is going to change the fundamentals, that the American people oppose this bill for far bigger reasons than just the kind of things that you've mentioned," Kyl said.

The Arizona Republican also guaranteed the bill would not be finished before lawmakers break for the Christmas holiday recess.

"And I guarantee you, by the way, it's not going to be done before Christmas," he said. "There is not time, even writing this bill behind closed doors instead of in front of the cameras, as the president promised, to get this done and to get it done right before Christmas."