Chuck Grassley, the leading Republican senator negotiating health care reform, said yesterday that Congress should pass a substantially narrower bill in the face of town hall anger. The Iowa legislator said baying crowds at public meetings had convinced him that the public has rejected "a government takeover of health care." It's the latest sign of divisions between the Democrats and Grassley, considered a key vote for any bipartisan measure, reports the Washington Post.
The Obama administration and Democratic leaders had hoped Grassley would bring along other Republicans on a compromise bill he and the so-called "Gang of Six" have worked on for months. But in recent days the majority has accused him of hurting the reform effort by, among other things, failing to reject "death panel" rumors. Grassley disputed those allegations, telling the Post that returning to negotiations would be "a natural outcome of what people may be getting from the town hall meetings."