Kyl: Republicans do not want to stall health bill with unlimited amendments

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that his party does not want to use a delay tactic to stop the passage of healthcare reform legislation should Democrats use the reconciliation process to approve it.

Kyl said that Republicans would prefer not to offer unlimited amendments to the healthcare bill to stall it under reconciliation, which would allow the bill to bypass a GOP filibuster, because he said that would be ineffective.

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"The opportunity to offer amendments is meaningless when there is only 20 hours to debate the bill," he said on Fox News Sunday. "Nobody wants to do that but there isn't an opportunity to debate the amendments."

Under budget reconciliation rules, senators are allowed to offer an unlimited amount of amendments, but the time allotted for debate is also limited. The process would allow Democrats to pass fixes to the healthcare bill with a simple majority instead of the 60 senators need to break a filibuster.

Kyl, however, did not rule out using amendments to stall the bill.

The Arizona senator said, as Republicans have long argued, that its inappropriate to use the reconciliation process, which is typically used for budgetary measures, to pass healthcare reform. He cited a recent letter from the most senior senator, Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), that called the possibility of using the process an "outrage."

But Democrats say that Republicans have used it to pass large public policy measures such as welfare reform and that only items in the healthcare bill that apply to the budget will be passed using the process. 

"Democrats believe that there should be a simple rules of the road," Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said on Fox News Sunday.