GOP buses in business owners from Blue Dog districts

House GOP leaders are ramping up the pressure on centrist Democrats on Tuesday by busing to Capitol Hill and meeting with business owners from several Blue Dog districts who are opposed to the president's healthcare reform bill.

The meeting with small-business owners is part of the ongoing effort by Republicans to attack what they consider to be a "government takeover" of the country's healthcare system.

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Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) explained earlier Tuesday that "we’re going to bring together some small-business people ... from around the country, many of them from districts represented by some of the Blue Dogs that obviously have been speaking to the centrists on the other side who say, 'Look, the healthcare approach on the table is bad policy. It’s bad for business, and in these times of economic difficulty, why should we be adding to payroll taxes? Why should we be adding to the burdens of small businesses?' "

The No. 3-ranking GOP House member, Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), also is imploring Americans "who cherish a free-market foundation of our healthcare economy to join House Republicans and a handful of Democrats in this fight."

House offices have already been inundated with phone calls from their constituents on the healthcare reform issue.

Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak says that his office averages 300 calls per day on this topic; normally it receives a daily average of 10 calls on any given topic.