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RNC: Dems Hedge on Healthcare

WASHINGTON, April 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following are excerpts from an article in The Hill by Manu Raju and is being issued by the Republican National Committee:

Congressional Democrats are backing away from healthcare reform promises made by their two presidential candidates, saying that even if their party controls the White House and Congress, sweeping change will be difficult. ...

For some senators, the promises made by Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) outside of Washington may not match the political reality on Capitol Hill.

"We all know there is not enough money to do all this stuff," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), a Finance Committee member and an Obama supporter, referring to the presidential candidates' healthcare plans. "What they are doing is ... laying out their ambitions." ...

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a member of Senate Democratic leadership and a key Hillary Clinton ally who also sits on the Finance Committee, said he is "not sure we have the big plan on healthcare."

"Healthcare I feel strongly about, but I am not sure that we're ready for a major national healthcare plan," Schumer said. ...

"You don't want to rush and do something and do it incorrectly," said former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who helped negotiate the Medicare law. ...

[P]assing broader proposals aimed at insuring greater numbers will more than likely have to wait, they say.

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), a Clinton supporter who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, said "the money is not necessarily there right now," ... he said, but any promises that the next Congress would enact the healthcare plans "at even the beginning of next year to mid-next year would really be political talk at this point.

"I hear on the campaign trail, 'This is what I'm going to do,' as if there is not a Congress here with feelings and experience on this issue," Meek said. "I think it's important that everyone takes that into consideration and that this is not a kingdom, this is a democracy." ...

Senate Finance panel Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) ... projected an uphill battle ahead.

"If they try to solve all the problems, it's going to be difficult," Baucus said.

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