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GOP criticize Obama's vote demand

WASHINGTON, March 3 (UPI) -- Republican congressmen Wednesday quickly criticized U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare proposal and call for an up-or-down vote on healthcare reform.

"Today, you heard the president who promised transparency embrace the product of backroom deals and political payoffs," said John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate GOP leadership. "You heard the president who promised to be 'post-partisan' embrace the hyper-partisan reconciliation tactic."

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Obama outlined his proposal that included several Republican-generated ideas and called on Congress to pass healthcare reform within the next several weeks. By calling for an up-or-down vote, Obama noted that several major bills passed by a simple majority -- otherwise known as reconciliation, a parliamentary procedure -- during several previous administrations, including that of George W. Bush.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the healthcare vote would become part of every congressional campaign.

The healthcare debate "is far from over," said House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. "The final battle will be in the House of Representatives, and if the American people stay engaged, we can win this fight."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Obama's announcement was a call to act.

"We will now move forward to pass health insurance reform that includes the best ideas of both Democrats and Republicans, and address one of the most pressing challenges facing our families and small businesses," the California Democrat said.

She backed the president's call for a simple majority vote.

"Improving health insurance reform must be based on a fundamental principle of our democratic system: a simple majority," she said. "After passing health insurance reform in both chambers of Congress -- with a super-majority in the Senate -- it is now time for an up-or-down vote on the final improvements to the reform."

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