Boehner: This health-care summit is a total sham but we must attend anyway

Sad but true, my friends, sad but true.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told his colleagues on Tuesday that Republicans plan to attend the president’s high-profile healthcare summit this week in order to “crash the party.”

According to a House GOP leadership aide familiar with the top-ranking Republican’s remarks at the weekly closed-door conference meeting, Boehner appealed to skeptical Republican lawmakers, saying, “We shouldn’t let the White House have a six-hour taxpayer-funded infomercial on ObamaCare. We need to show up. We need to crash the party.”

Following the private hourlong breakfast meeting, Boehner acknowledged to reporters that House Republicans have not officially accepted the president’s invitation.


He called it an “infomercial” in his official statement this morning too and demanded again that the negotiations start from scratch. (Cantor chimed in on GMA by dismissing Obama’s bill as a “non-starter.”) Now that all pretense is gone that this will be anything other than a political passion play, can someone explain to me McConnell’s picks for the GOP’s Senate attendees?

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Senate Republican Whip
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Senate Republican Conference Chairman
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Ranking Member Senate Finance Committee
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Ranking Member Senate Help Committee
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., HELP Committee
Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D., R-Okla., HELP Committee
Sen. John Barrasso, M.D.,R-Wyo.

Who’s missing? Right, Number 41, whose very presence would remind viewers that our “bipartisan” president is prepared to stamp his feet and go nuclear with reconciliation if Republicans don’t sign off on his gigantic new bill. Granted, he’s the most junior senator in Congress, but who cares? This is nothing but theater so there’s no excuse for not staging it correctly. I get why most of the others are there: Kyl’s number two in the caucus, Alexander’s the head of the conference, McCain’s the former nominee, and Coburn and Barrasso are both doctors. But neither Grassley nor Enzi can be spared for Brown, their legislative influence notwithstanding? For that matter, where’s Olympia Snowe? She’d remind viewers that even the lone Republican who was willing to vote with Democrats on this early on is now prepared to walk away from a monster boondoggle; as such, she’s probably best positioned to make the case publicly against reconciliation, which she showed herself willing to do last night (“a huge mistake, frankly — tactically, strategically and in terms of what is in the best interest of the American people”). And of course, she’d bring a bit of gender balance to the all-white, all-male, all-senior Republican team. Any explanations for why she and Brown are MIA?


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