No big surprise: Democrats are pretty happy about the preliminary analysis done by the Congressional Budget Office and the Committee on Joint Taxation that shows the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform bill reducing the deficit by $81 billion. For now, though, they appear to be heding their bets and not praising the legislation too effusively.
For instance, in a statement provided to Salon, a White House aide said, "This is another important step forward for health reform. The analysis confirms that we can provide stability and security for Americans with insurance and affordable options for uninsured Americans without adding a dime to the deficit – and saving money over the long term.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hit similar themes in his statement on the report, saying:
Today’s news from the Congressional Budget Office on the Finance Committee’s bill is another important step down the road toward enacting comprehensive health insurance reform. After nearly 60 years, we are closer than ever before to delivering Americans access to quality, affordable health care in a fiscally responsible way.
I look forward to the Finance Committee completing its work as soon as possible. After the committee acts, we must begin the important work of merging their proposal with the HELP Committee legislation. We’ll work with the White House and the chairmen of the HELP and Finance Committees to craft a bill that can garner 60 votes.
On the other side of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wasn't so thrilled; eh argued that the CBO analysis, which will hurt Republican arguments, doesn't matter since this bill isn't the final legislation.
"This partisan Finance Committee proposal will never see the Senate floor since the real bill will be written by Democrat leaders in a closed-to-the-public conference room somewhere in the Capitol," McConnell said in a statement. "The real bill will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar experiment that slashes a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, raises taxes on American families by $400 billion, increases health care premiums, and vastly expands the role of the federal government in the personal health care decisions of every American."