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House health negotiator raps Senate stance

Jan. 13, 2010 at 5:22 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate negotiators are "holding a gun" on the House of Representatives in healthcare reform bill conference talks, a House member says.

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that Senate negotiators are using strong-arm tactics in reconciling differences between versions of healthcare reform passed by the two chambers, the Washington publication The Hill reported.

"The House has shown deference to the Senate in this process," Weiner told The Hill. "But I am tired of hearing how hard it was to get 60 votes in the Senate -- getting 218 votes to pass our healthcare bill in the House wasn't easy. We don't like negotiating with a gun to our head."

Weiner, whom the publication said is taking on a key role in the negotiations, indicated the two chambers are at loggerheads over such differences as a tax on benefit-rich "Cadillac plans" and restrictions on abortion funding.

"The House healthcare bill is better for the American people," Weiner said. "It includes a public option that provides choice and competition and lower costs, Medicaid relief to all states -- not just one -- and doesn't tax healthcare plans that many middle-class Americans have."

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