By Molly Hooper - 02/23/10 04:56 PM EST
House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (R-Ohio) told his colleagues on Tuesday that Republicans plan to attend the president’s high-profile healthcare summit this week in order to "crash the party."
According to a House GOP leadership aide familiar with the top-ranking Republican’s remarks at the weekly closed-door conference meeting, BoehnerJohn BoehnerHouse GOP faces dilemma on spending bills Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE appealed to skeptical Republican lawmakers, saying, “We shouldn’t let the White House have a six-hour taxpayer-funded infomercial on ObamaCare. We need to show up. We need to crash the party.”
Boehner explained that leaders are waiting for a response from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to a letter they sent earlier this month that asked a series of questions on the bipartisan summit.
“It’s our intent to be there on Thursday. We’re waiting on a response and we’re hopeful that we’ll receive one soon," Boehner explained.
In the two weeks since President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaJohn Bolton slams Obama’s ‘shameful apology tour’ Miss. governor to join lawsuit against Obama transgender policy North Korea calls Obama’s Hiroshima trip ‘childish’ MORE announced his televised bipartisan, bicameral healthcare summit, political operatives and consultants have debated whether Republicans could be walking into a public-relations disaster.
House Minority Whip Eric CantorEric CantorJohn Feehery: GOP: Listen to Reince The Trail 2016: Dems struggle for unity Overnight Regulation: Supreme Court rejects GOP redistricting challenge MORE (R-Va.) has publicly said that Republicans intended to participate in the negotiation session.
Boehner conceded on Tuesday that “it's an invitation from the president of the United States. If you get an invite from the president, you have an obligation to go."
But the release of Obama’s own version of healthcare reform legislation on Monday irritated Republicans who have argued that the slate should be wiped clean if a true bipartisan compromise is going to be struck.
Boehner used the release of Obama’s healthcare bill as a rallying cry during the Tuesday morning GOP conference meeting, saying it was a sign that “Democrats clearly want us to boycott.”
The minority leader told reporters that the president has “basically crippled the summit expected on Thursday by coming in with a rerun of the same failed bill that couldn’t pass the House or Senate.”