Kyl: Even A Deficit Neutral Health Care Bill Without A Public Option Won’t Get Republican Support

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August 18, 2009 10:42 a.m.

On a conference call today with reporters, Senate Minority Whip John Kyl (R-AZ) said almost no health care compromise is likely to win significant Republican support.

“There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar-plus bill,” Kyl said. “I have no doubt that they can make it revenue neutral to find enough ways to tax the American people, but that doesn’t mean the Republicans will support it.”

As for the co-op compromise? “It’s a step towards government-run health care in this country.”

The remarks are particularly significant coming a day after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the lead Republican health care negotiator in the Senate, said he’d vote against his own bill–and all the compromises he’s forcing into it–if it doesn’t win a great number of Republican votes.Of course, when people like Grassley and Max Baucus say they’re working toward a bipartisan health care bill, they don’t mean they’re trying to pick up one or two Republicans. What they’re really talking about is a consensus bill–a package that can win significant support from both parties, even if it means sacrificing the votes of liberals and conservatives. That means the major compromises we’ve seen leaked out of the Finance Committee–no public option, no employer mandate, etc.

But even if a consensus bill can succeed in the Finance Committee, Kyl’s saying the same bill won’t achieve consensus on the Senate floor. And so the question falls back to Baucus, and through him to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Why is this process allowed to continue if it’s destined to fail–why not just try to snatch up one or two moderate Republicans and call it a day?

Via Steve Benen.

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