Boehner: Republicans Likely to Attend Summit

Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:57am

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that Republicans will likely attend President Obama’s bipartisan health care reform summit at the Blair House on Thursday and would use the televised meeting to promote Republican ideas.

“It is our intent to be there on Thursday,” Boehner told reporters.

Boehner dismissed suggestions that Republicans might boycott the summit. In a statement Monday, he described the event as a Democratic “infomercial.”

“It’s an invitation from the president of the United States. If you get an invitation from the president, you have an obligation to go,” Boehner told reporters Tuesday. “I have no hesitation to go to the White House and stand up for our ideas.”

Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last month that said Republicans “would rightly be reluctant” to participate in the bipartisan health care meeting if the White House refused to consider scrapping the health care reform bills that passed the House and Senate. Obama unveiled a $950 billion health care plan Monday, which Republicans immediately panned as a partisan proposal.

“I have no problem standing up and pointing out why their government takeover of health care that will cost a trillion dollars, cut Medicare, raise taxes, increase insurance premiums, why it’s not a good idea for the American people,” Boehner said Tuesday.

During a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, Boehner told Members that leadership had not “officially” accepted the White House invitation to the summit but felt it was important to attend so that Republican views are represented, according to knowledgeable sources.

“We shouldn’t let the White House have a six-hour, taxpayer-funded infomercial on Obama care,” Boehner said. “We need to show up. We need to crash the party.”