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Cantor Defends GOP’s Handling of Health Care Repeal

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Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Tuesday defended Republicans’ decision to bypass regular order on the health care repeal effort.

“This has been litigated in this last election,” Cantor said in a news conference Tuesday. “This is a bill that most Americans outside the Beltway — certainly most people inside the beltway — know is something that is rejected by the majority of the people.”

Republicans are planning to bring the repeal bill to the floor on Friday. A final vote is scheduled for Feb. 12.

Democratic leaders have been harshly critical of House Republicans’ decision to not allow changes to the bill. In a news conference Tuesday, incoming Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and other Democrats called Republicans hypocritical for their handling of the health care measure, saying they are abandoning campaign promises to make the House more transparent.

Hoyer called the handling of the health care repeal bill “not inconsistent with past practice, but certainly not consistent with the representation of open rules, transparency and allowing other points of view to be expressed here in the House.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republicans’ repeal efforts are a waste of time.

“Every minute wasted on trying to repeal health care reform fruitlessly is one less minute the Republicans will spend on job creation and turning this economy around,” the Florida Democrat said. “We cannot take our eyes off the prize of continuing our economic recovery. We are going to watch for every Republican hypocrisy and call them on it when we see it.”

Cantor said Republicans will lead an open process when the House debate begins over replacing the current health care plan.

“It is certainly been through enough discussion in this House and we’re going to be charging our committees to go about formulating a replacement of the kind of health care that people want,” Cantor said. “That will be something that will not have had the benefit of going through the committee process, will not have had the ability for the American public to exercise its opinion and views on and that process will be one of openness.”

Jessica Brady and John Stanton contributed to this report.

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