Senate Republicans say Dems ignoring meeting requests

Senate Republicans on Sunday said that their Democratic counterparts have ignored requests to meet jointly with the parliamentarian about a potential rule violation that they say could halt the reconciliation healthcare bill. 

Republicans say that a provision in the reconciliation packages raises Social Security revenue, thereby violating rules regulating the reconciliation process.

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"Republicans have been trying to set up a meeting with Senate Democrats since yesterday to discuss this fatal point of order but have been met with nothing but silence," Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "We suspect Democrats are slow walking us so as to have the House vote first."

Republicans and Democrats still must meet to discuss what in the reconciliation package being considered by the House Sunday can be taken up by the Senate under the rules. The process would allow Democrats to pass fixes using a simple majority vote, bypassing a Republican filibuster of the bill.

The release was issued just hours before the House is set to vote on the bill.

Some House Democrats and many Republicans have expressed doubts that the Senate will act upon the fixes, but the Democrats have appeared to pick up more votes from concerned members. 

Senate Democrats said they had scheduled a meeting with the GOP and parliamentarian for Friday, which the Republicans "boycotted," adding that that they believe the Republicans are trying to "spook" House Democrats just before the vote.

"We had a meeting scheduled with the parliamentarian on Friday which the Republicans boycotted, I believe because we did not have a final language. Republicans then suggested late last night that we meet first thing this morning," Regan Lachapelle, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. "As they have done repeatedly in the past, they wanted to try to spook the House before the final vote." And like before they have nothing from the parlimentarian to support their claims. Whether we met or not they were going to say the same thing. It is a cynical strategy, albeit a highly misleading one."

Republicans say that the Social Security provision breaks a rule that limits changes that can be made to entitlement programs using reconciliation.

This post was updated at 5:13 p.m.

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