Graham: House health bill 'dead' in Senate

Nov. 8, 2009 at 12:25 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The healthcare reform bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives is "dead on arrival" in the Senate, a senior Republican said Sunday.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-N.C., said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that the House bill "is dead on arrival in the Senate" after passing by just two votes over the opposition of all Republicans and 39 Democrats.

"Moderate Democrats from swing districts," Graham said, "bailed out on this bill. It was a bill written by liberals for liberals."

Graham said independent-minded lawmakers such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, a former Democrat, "are not going to get anywhere near the House bill. It cuts Medicare about $500 billion. It's over $1 trillion in new spending. It does have the public option. So the House bill is a non-starter in the Senate."

The measure passed 220-215 Saturday night after a day of intense lobbying, including a visit to the U.S. Capitol by President Barack Obama, who has made healthcare reform his top priority.

"For generations, the American people have called for affordable, quality healthcare for their families," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said on the House floor before the vote. "Today, the call will be answered."

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