House GOP Leaders Press White House To Allow Governors, State Legislators To Join Health Care "Summit"
Noting that legislation to "opt out" of Obamacare has been introduced in 36 states, Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) and Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) have sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asking that the invitation to the planned Feb. 25 health care "summit" at the White House be extended to the nation's governors and state legislators.
"Will the President be inviting officials and lawmakers from the states to participate in this discussion?" Boehner and Cantor asked Emanuel. "As you may know, legislation has been introduced in at least 36 state legislatures, similar to the proposal just passed by the Democratic-controlled Virginia State Senate, providing that no individual may be compelled to purchase health insurance. Additionally, governors of both parties have raised concerns about the additional costs that will be passed along to states under both the House and Senate bills."
In a statement released Monday night, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs criticized the Boehner-Cantor letter, but did not address the question of whether state officials would be given a role in the Feb. 25 event.
"One of the fundamental problems with the approach the Obama Administration has taken to health care is that it seems rooted in a Washington-knows-best mentality. Excluding the voices of America's governors and state legislators from the proposed 'summit' would compound this error," Boehner said. "There's a revolt going on in the states right now against the bills Washington Democrats are trying to impose on America. The White House may want to pretend the revolt isn't happening, but it's real."
Boehner and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) last year launched the GOP State Solutions project, an initiative aimed at highlighting solutions put forth by reform-minded governors and state officials outside the Beltway. Through the State Solutions project, House Republicans have been working with state officials, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and grass-roots activists to advance state-level legislation declaring individual citizens' freedom against intrusive health care mandates from the federal government.