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Rep. Paul Ryan: Dems Have "Right" To Push Health Care Overhaul Through Congress

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Shortly after President Obama's Inauguration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) let Republicans know that the election would come with consequences.

"Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election," she said in response to GOP complaints that they weren't involved enough in the crafting of the stimulus.

Republicans have repeatedly raised that comment as evidence that Pelosi is uninterested in bipartisan cooperation. In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, however, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) went way off script, acknowledging that the mandate delivered by the election gives Democrats the "right" to push their policy proposals.

"It's their right. They did win the election," said Ryan, a respected member of House Republican leadership. "That's what I tell all my constituents who are worried about this. They won the election. They did run on these ideas. They did run on nationalizing health care."

The GOP repeatedly decried Democratic policies during the campaign as socialist and as wealth distribution. Yet voters chose them anyway.

A faction of congressional Democrats is pushing to use a budget process known as reconciliation to push through health care reform. Reconciliation means that only a simple majority is needed to pass the bill in the Senate, defanging any GOP filibuster threats.

"They have the votes with reconciliation," said Ryan. "They nailed down the process so that they can make sure they have the votes and that they can get this thing through really fast. It is their right. It is what they can do."

President Bush used reconciliation to ram through his major tax cuts. Ryan, however, argued that the process isn't intended for major policy overhauls.

"Reconciliation this year is being sort of tortured and used for different purposes than what it was originally intended for. That's the point we're trying to make," he said.

Watch his interview.

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