House Democrats are aiming to bring their massive, 1,990-page health care reform bill to the floor later this week for a debate and vote.
And House Republicans hope that Democrats will allow them to introduce and debate their own bill as well.
"We’re hopeful Speaker Pelosi will allow us a substitute," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).
A "substitute" is an alternative version of a bill. Typically, the minority party is allowed to offer a completely different rendition of a bill. A measure offered as a substitute strikes the text of the existing bill and replaces it with the newer version.
Boehner says the Congressional Budget Office is currently analyzing the price tag of the Republican alternative alternative. A senior House Republican aide tells FOX that the GOP will probably make its bill public when Democrats introduce what’s called a "manager’s amendment" to their underlying legislation. A manager’s amendment is the final step of tweaking a measure that’s headed toward debate. Democrats have assured Republicans that they will allow their manager’s amendment to be posted online for three days before bringing the health care reform bill to the floor. The Republican aide indicates that the GOP will probably do the same, regardless as to whether they have a final cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.
Boehner was thin on details about the Republican bill. But his spokesman Kevin Smith said indicated that the Republican effort "will cover millions more Americans" than the Democrats’ plan.
Boehner also said that Republicans were orchestrating attacks on Democrats from swing districts who could be cajoled to vote for the health care reform legislation. He said this part of an effort to defeat the legislation.
"Our goal is to make this as difficult as possible for them to vote for it," Boehner said. "I would hope their constituents would make their point of view well known."
Boehner also claims that the Democratic bill could result in the creation of more than 100 bureaucracies and agencies. He noted that Democrats didn’t write a bill that would immediately ask the government to run the nation’s health care system. But he cautioned that
this legislation could allow that to happen in the future.
"All of the infrastructure is there," Boehner said. "The left wants to have single-payer, government-run health care."
A senior Democrat familiar with the health care bill who didn’t wish to be identified dismissed Boehner’s assertion. The Democrat said that the programs and projects mentioned in the health care package aren’t new and just "sensible ways to test new policies," before they are implemented.
"These offices run smoother and work better by serving as an advocate for consumers and reduce waste, fraud and abuse," the Democrat said.