Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says the health care summit was a civil discussion, but he says they heard the same thing from Republicans that they have heard for weeks — start over. Harkin says that won’t happen. Harkin says the president wants Republicans to come forward with suggestions on how to change the current bill, but he says they plan to move ahead in the next four to six weeks to take action.
Harkin says it’s up to the other side to find ways to improve the Democrat plan if they don’t like it. “I think the ball is in the Republicans court, they’ve got to come forward now with some suggestions..,”Harkin said, “if their position is we have to start over, that’s a non starter.” Harkin says the Republicans did make some good points and he say many their suggestions are in the bill. He says their suggestions just may not be 100-percent in the bill, but they are 75 to 80-percent.
“And isn’t that the art of legislation, is to find compromise?,” Harkin says. Harkin says the Republicans have remained negative on the Democrat bill, and that is why there are polls that show the public does not support it. Harkin says the president pointed out that when people are asked in polls about the bill they say the don’t like it, but when they are asked about individual portions of the bill “they love ’em.” “So they like all the individual parts, but for some reason they don’t like the whole bill because I think they’ve really been mislead a lot on that,” Harkin says.
Harkin quoted Harry Truman saying “it’s easier to burn down a barn, than to build it,” and that’s what has happened with the negative comments by the Republicans.
Harkin made his comments in a conference call with reporters after the summit.