Lawmakers questions purpose of health care summit
WASHINGTON (AP) – Here’s one point on which Democrats and Republicans agree on health care: President Barack Obama’s much-touted televised summit has virtually no chance of breaking the political logjam, forcing Democrats to find a way to pass an overhaul on their own or face a huge political defeat.
Lawmakers from both parties suggested the Obama-hosted meeting Thursday will amount to little more than political theater. No cracks appeared in the GOP’s overwhelming opposition to Democrats’ efforts. And both parties saw the president’s revised far-reaching proposal, released Monday, as a call for Democrats to try to pass the legislation on their own under Senate rules that would bar Republican delaying tactics.
“We’re happy to be there, but I’m not quite sure what the purpose is,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday of the daylong summit. “It seems to me the president’s already made up his mind.”
Underscoring his points, McConnell invited some of Obama’s sharpest critics, including 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona, to join him. Democrats were equally dismissive of GOP demands that they start from scratch.