Sen. Charles Grassley, one of three Republicans negotiating with Democrats on a Senate Finance Committee health care bill, tonight issued a statement saying he and his fellow Republicans have been "pushed aside" by the Democratic leadership in the rush to pass national health care. "We're operating under an artificial deadline set by the Democratic leadership and the White House," Grassley said. "I'm disappointed because it looks like we're being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage that we set forth when this process began." Grassley pointed to a number of major problems -- cost, mandates, medical liability reform, abortion, illegal aliens -- that have still not been resolved in the committee's negotiations.
"On top of all that, there’s no guarantee that a Finance Committee bill, even if it becomes bipartisan, will stay that way after it leaves the committee," Grassley said. "An overriding issue for some time has been the fact that members of the Democratic leadership haven't made a commitment to back a broad bipartisan bill through the entire process."
Legislation that affects every American, as a national health care bill would, "should have strong bipartisan support," Grassley said.