Top congressional Republicans, emerging from a 90-minute meeting with President Obama that side-stepped health care reform, said they may boycott Feb. 25 talks on health care reform.
"It's going to be very difficult to have bipartisan conversations with regard to a 2,700 page health care bill that the Democrat majority in the House and the Democrat majority in the Senate can’t pass," House Minority Leader John Boehner said. "Why are we going to talk about a bill that can’t pass? It really is time to scrap the bill and start over."
For now, Boehner said House Republicans are only willing to "consider" attending the bi-partisan health care talks at the Blair House, the stately quarters across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.
"We’re trying to understand from the White House what we’re trying to accomplish," Boehner said. "We need to know where we’re going to start from.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also left open the possibility of a boycott.
"Listen to the American people," McConnell told reporters gathered just outside the West Wing. "They are overwhelming opposed to the bill that the House and Senate have looked at. What we need to do is start over and go step-by-step."
Asked what Republicans meant by starting over, McConnell said: "Focus on costs. Costs are the problem. We need to target costs."
McConnell cited a recent National Public Radio poll that showed voters oppose the current version of health reform 55 percent to 39 percent.
"Why would they want to keep pushing something that the public is overwhelmingly against? The obvious answer is to put that measure on the shelf, start over."