By J. Taylor Rushing, the Hill
Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday blamed Capitol Hill media for setting an August deadline for health reform and Republicans for blocking the bill’s progress.
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Conference Secretary Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also acknowledged that critics will “pour it on” during the coming August recess and they plan to respond in kind.
Reid said reporters created a fictitious deadline of a successful vote by the August recess, and downplayed the fact that the chamber won’t meet that mark.
“That is a deadline that you created,” Reid told a group of about 75 reporters. “It’s not like we don’t have a product. Significant progress has been made … The mere fact that this wasn’t done by last Friday or by five o’clock doesn’t mean we’re not going to get a quality product.”
Sens. Michael Enzi (Wyo.), ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, took stances Thursday against supporting any healthcare bill before the August recess — a move Reid blamed on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
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