Waxman implied a tougher road ahead for cooperation on healthcare changes than the one suggested by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Hoyer said earlier Tuesday that Democrats are willing to work with Republicans and indicated support for further improvements to the nation's healthcare system.
A hearing held by House Democrats on Tuesday also underlines a continuing divide on healthcare. Without a single Republican member of Congress present, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hosted a discussion on "the impact of the Republican plan to repeal patients' rights guaranteed to millions of Americans."
The hearing was attended by dozens of Democratic lawmakers, members of the press and the top four ranking members of Democratic House leadership. It began with statements from lawmakers on the importance of the legislation, proceeded to testimony from six Americans who said their lives would be affected adversely by its repeal and concluded with a period in which lawmakers questioned the witnesses.
The purpose of the hearing, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) opening statement, was to let people "share their concerns before the vote to repeal their rights."
"Republicans have closed off the process by not having hearings to hear these voices," said Pelosi.
Republicans, however, were not invited to hear the testimony or participate in the event.
"I doubt very much they were invited to come because a lot of them would have come just to disrupt the meeting," Waxman told The Hill. "But the Republicans could have held official meetings [on the repeal] themselves, and they refused to do so."
A spokesman for Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the co-chairwoman of the Steering Committee, confirmed that the meeting was "just Democrats."