Rep. John Kline has been invited to President Obama’s summit on health care, intended to bring a bipartisan end to the health care debate and — possibly — find enough room for agreement so that a health care reform bill can finally get signed into law.
Kline was invited as ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee, one of a few with jurisdiction over health care reform. The Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate will each get to invite four more members.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in a letter to congressional leaders, said the White House will post online its proposed health care reform draft. Emanuel also suggested Republicans put forward their own comprehensive plan and put it online before the meeting.
“Now is the time to act on behalf of the millions of Americans and small businesses who are counting on meaningful health insurance reform,” Emanuel wrote.
However, questions remain as to how bipartisan the meeting will
House Minority Leader John Boehner is among a group of Republicans that have expressed skepticism over the meeting, and raised doubts about their own attendance amidst reports that Democrats are planning legislative strategies to go it alone, should this summit fail. The question, as Kline spokesman Troy Young put it to me in an e-mail, is “if the White House is more interested in partisan theater than in facilitating a productive dialogue about solutions.”
So will Kline go?
“There are still unanswered questions about who will be included in this summit and whether Democrats are serious about sitting down with a blank piece of paper to develop commonsense, bipartisan health care reforms,” Young wrote. “Rep. Kline would certainly participate in a serious attempt to press the reset button and scrap the government takeover of health care. It remains to be seen whether that’s what being proposed.”