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Republicans Complain About ‘Preliminary’ Cost of Senate Health Care Bill

Senate Republicans roundly criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) health care reform bill as a backroom deal that will raise insurance premiums and increase taxes on Americans, even as they complained they have yet to read the 2,074-page bill. “Until we have had a chance to read the full 2,074-page Reid bill, it’s impossible for Americans to fully grasp what the Majority Leader has cooked up behind closed doors,— National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said. “It is my hope that Sen. Reid will afford all Americans the same courtesy that he had: ample time to study the legislation and deliberate the best way to proceed.—Cornyn also echoed the call of his party’s leadership for a take-it-slow approach to the upcoming debate. “This bill has been behind closed doors for weeks. Now, it’s America’s turn, and this will not be a short debate,— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement released shortly after Reid unveiled his bill. “Higher premiums, tax increases and Medicare cuts to pay for more government — the American people know that is not reform.—Republicans also pointed out that the $849 billion cost estimate and the $127 billion savings over 10 years that Democratic leadership aides were distributing to the press were not official estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Indeed, a Senate Democratic leadership aide confirmed that numbers represented “preliminary feedback— from the CBO, not a preliminary score or a final estimate. Senate Budget ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) charged that the Democrats’ cost estimate “uses sleight-of-hand budgetary tricks by assuming unrealistic tax increases and Medicare cuts that Members of Congress will not be willing to follow through on. Consequently, the Senate Democratic leadership’s proposal commits today’s taxpayers, as well as future generations, to financing trillions of dollars of additional debt to pay for another out-of-control government entitlement program.— Democratic aides said Reid might attempt to set a vote for Saturday to break an expected GOP-led filibuster of the motion to proceed to the measure. If successful, the filibuster would prevent the Senate from debating or amending the bill.

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