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Democrats defend health care strategy

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: March 17, 2010 at 4:28 am •  Published: March 17, 2010
e GOP is unanimously opposed.

"Anyone who endorses this strategy will be forever remembered for trying to claim they didn’t vote for something they did,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday. "It will go down as one of the most extraordinary legislative sleights of hand in history.”

The back-and-forth came as a couple hundred tea party activists descended on Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and voice their opposition to the legislation.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., urged activists to make phone calls, send e-mails and go to congressional district offices to stop the health care measure from passing.

The White House hopes for final action by the Senate the following week, before Congress’ Easter break, though the outcome is anything but assured.

With a number of anti-abortion Democrats expected to defect over provisions they contend allow federal funding of abortion, every vote will count for Democratic leaders, who need to win over lawmakers who opposed the legislation the first time — and keep reluctant supporters on board in the face of escalating attacks. House Democrats caucused Tuesday, still without final legislative language or a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.