Closed-door negotiations over health care reform between House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and conservative Blue Dog Democrats broke down Friday afternoon and appeared dead.
A visibly angry Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the Blue Dog health care task force chairman, said Waxman reneged on deals the two sides had previously agreed on: an independent Medicare commission and adopting Senate language on a public insurance option. He also said Waxmans threats to bring the bill straight to the floor and bypass a markup in Energy and Commerce were not helpful.
We are actually trying to save the bill and we are trying to save our party, Ross said after the meeting ended. He said its his understanding that the two sides would not have any additional meetings.
Its my understanding that will be the last meeting we have, Ross said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.