GOP to go all out vs. health bill

House Republicans intend to pull out all the stops to delay a vote on President Obama’s healthcare reform bill, Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) said Monday.

Pence, the GOP conference chairman, told reporters that the GOP intends to force Obama to move off his timeline for the House to pass the healthcare bill before the August recess.

“Republicans are going to vigorously oppose this legislation,” said Pence, who promised his colleagues would overwhelmingly oppose the bill.

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The House Ways and Means and Education and Labor panels moved healthcare legislation last week, but a markup in the House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to be more difficult.

GOP members of the Ways and Means and Education and Labor committees voted unanimously against the measure. Three Democrats on each committee opposed the bill as well.

Conservative Democrats worried about the impact healthcare reform could have on the fiscal deficit have pledged to either change or vote against the bill on Energy and Commerce.

“I think the Democrats are in disarray on this issue because the American people are saying enough is enough,” said Pence, seizing on criticism of the bill from conservative Democrats.

“We’ve lost more than 2 million jobs since the Democrats passed their so-called economic stimulus. Now the president, having just passed the ‘National Energy Tax,’ is attempting to pile-drive through the Congress a trillion dollars in tax increases on individuals and businesses to finance a government takeover of healthcare in this country. And it’s the American people that are saying, ‘Hold off,’ ” Pence said.

A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) disputed Pence’s characterization, noting that Democrats made progress in moving legislation in both chambers last week.

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“Last week, three major committees of the House and the Senate reported out health insurance reform legislation,” said Brendan Daly, Pelosi’s spokesman. “This level of progress has never been made before. Our bill will put patients and doctors back in charge and ensure quality, affordable and accessible healthcare for America’s middle class,” Daly said.

Republicans have issued a broad “plan” of reforms that they favor but at this point have not drafted a comprehensive alternative to the Democratic bill.

The GOP has yet to offer legislative language for their plan.