Progressive Caucus leader: Obama has 'earned right' to 'go it alone' on health

A liberal House leader on Wednesday said that President Barack Obama has "earned the right to go it alone" in order to pass healthcare reform legislation.

"[Republican] leadership has demonstrated that they really don't want reform. Every opportunity he's taken to reach out to Republicans, he's been rebuffed," Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who is vice-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told The Hill.

This morning, reports indicated that the Obama administration was ready to pass the bill with a party line vote.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel told the New York Times that "The Republican leadership has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems that Americans face every day."

Liberals in the House have thrown their support behind President Obama in recent days after the administration reaffirmed its support for a public health insurance option.

Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) yesterday said she would "take the administration at its word" that "nothing has changed" on White House's position on the public plan.

Some liberal House members earlier in the week reacted negatively to statements made by two administration officials on Sunday that seemed to back away from the public option. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said that abandoning the public option could cost the bill 100 votes in the House.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) reacted defiantly to calls for Democrats to "go it alone" on healthcare reform.

"From day one, the White House has taken a go it alone approach on health care," Boehner said in a statment.

"The Administration rejected our efforts to work together, choosing instead to craft a costly government takeover of health care and to march forward on a partisan basis solely with Democrats in Congress," he added.

Mike Soraghan contributed to this report

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