Senator Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), one of three key Republicans negotiating health care reform in the Senate, declared the prospects of getting a bipartisan bill effectively over during a conference call with reporters.
The Iowa Republican, who admitted on Sunday that he had perpetuated a myth that the Democratic health care package would allow the government to "pull the plug on grandma," blamed the impasse on the White House due to the inconsistency of its rhetoric.
"I don't think it's going to be possible to work it out with the administration because they're all over the field -- all over the ballpark, I guess, as we say," the Senator said, according to a transcript posted on his web page. "And, you know, one weekend, the secretary of HHS is saying you don't have to have a public option. The next day, the administration gets hit from the left, so the Obama says public option is still very, very important to them."
Grassley added that while he did "believe it's possible to reach an agreement" on health care, the political landscape had become so polarized that it was incredibly unlikely.
"I have to confess to you to be a little more cautious when I say that now, because I've been out here listening to my constituents," he said. "And if -- and if other members of Congress are hearing what I'm hearing, they're saying, 'Slow it down. Do it a little more carefully. Make sure you know what you're doing. And maybe do it even a little more incrementally."
The White House, to date, has never indicated that it is wiling to stop working with Grassley on health care reform, even after he insisted that government-assisted euthanasia programs were part of the House of Representative's legislation. But it's hard to imagine that the Iowa Republican's most recent comments go over well with the president.
Grassley isn't the only Senator to declare bi-partisanship out of reach on health care.
"Nobody is going to bring a bill before Christmas, and maybe not even then, if this ever happens," Senator Russ Feingold, (D-Wisc.) told a local crowd in Wisconsin earlier this week. "The divisions are so deep. I [have] never seen anything like that""
"We're headed in the direction of doing absolutely nothing, and I think that's unfortunate," the Senator added.
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