WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- House Republicans were still looking for enough votes to pass a bill delaying U.S. healthcare reform in return for an increased federal debt, GOP leaders said.
National Review reported Thursday it has obtained a draft of the bill, dated Wednesday, provided by Capitol Hill aides to a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.
Although a GOP leadership aide said the document was still subject to change, the report said Republican leaders plan to hold a vote as early as Saturday on the bill, which would suspend the debt limit until 2015. The bill will include a long list of conservatives' demands including fast-tracking tax reform, approval of construction for the Keystone XL pipeline, rolling back Environmental Protection Agency carbon regulations, subjecting Medicare recipients to means testing, and repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund -- part of the Affordable Care Act mandating spending "expanded and sustained national investment in prevention and public health programs to improve health and help restrain the rate of growth in private and public healthcare costs."
The Hill reported late Thursday House Republican leaders were still looking for enough GOP votes to pass the debt ceiling measure, after outlining its provisions in a closed-door meeting.
Hours after the meeting ended, leaders had not publicly announced the legislation, and conservatives were saying it fell short on specific spending cuts and entitlement reform.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the bill has "an awful lot of support, but clearly at this point we don't have a final product that's attracting the number that we need," The Hill reported.
Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., said he could not justify voting for the bill because it does not take on entitlement reform.
White House press secretary Jay Carney mocked the list of GOP demands, telling reporters Thursday, "The only thing I didn't see was a birther bill attached to it."
President Barack Obama said Thursday Republicans are "threatening either to shut down the government or shut down the entire economy by refusing to let America pay its bills for the first time in history, unless I agree to gut a law that will help millions of people."
"That's not going to happen as long as I'm president. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," the president said.