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Top GOP Hill Staffers Meet to Strategize on Health Care Summit

Congressional Republican leadership chiefs of staff met Wednesday to begin laying out a strategy for their expected participation in President Barack Obama’s bipartisan health care summit, a senior GOP Senate aide has confirmed.

House and Senate Republican leaders have yet to formally accept Obama’s invitation to the Feb. 25 event. But they have signaled that they plan to attend, and their top aides have begun to develop a bicameral, GOP approach to countering Obama and Congressional Democrats at the nationally televised discussion.

The senior Republican Senate aide said no major decisions were made regarding policy or political strategy for the summit, saying the meeting of the chiefs was akin to “touching gloves,” adding that the purpose was to “see what people’s thoughts are.”

The White House summit, which Obama has billed as an attempt to reach an accord on health care reform, will be moderated by the president and include Congressional Democrats and senior administration officials.

House and Senate Democratic leaders were on the cusp of reconciling competing reform packages passed by their chambers late last year when the election of now-Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in a January special election knocked them off course and indefinitely stalled their effort to get a bill to Obama’s desk.

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