Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says there may be only one path Democrats can take to get Republicans to support for health care reform. "There’s a feeling that the only way to get a bipartisan agreement is to defeat a Democratic proposal on the first hand and then the Democrats will come to Republican leadership and then, at that point, they’ll know the only way they’re going to get health care reform is bipartisan," Grassley says.
The top Democrat in bipartisan, closed-door negotiations with Grassley, two other Republicans and two other Democrats said Monday the "sad part is a lot of politics has now crept in" and the Republican Party is pressuring Grassley and the other Republicans to leave the negotiations. Grassley says that statement is "not quite fair" because Republicans have offered a number of health care reform ideas.
"But, again, a Democratic plan shouldn’t pass. Just a Republican plan shouldn’t pass," Grassley says. "We ought to have something, when you’re restructuring one-sixth of the economy, that’s very broadly bipartisan."
Grassley believes Democratic congressional leaders are "rethinking strategy" on health care reform after what’s been said at congressional town hall meetings in August.
"The public feels that the roof is caving in on this country," Grassley says. "There’s a lot of fear expressed at my town meetings and it’s fear about government running out of control and a trillion dollar health care bill is just the tip of the iceberg."
According to Grassley, public angst is greatly fueled by dissatisfaction with the government bailout of the banking and auto industries. Grassley made his comments this morning during a telephone conference call with Iowa radio reporters.