WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the final details of a proposed budget deal were worked out Monday, Republican lawmakers slammed Democrats for including special rules to speed up legislation for health-care reform.
"You won the election. You've got the votes. This is your right to do this and you are doing it. But let's not kid ourselves that there is some kind of bipartisan collaboration occurring here," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.
"Let's not kid ourselves that this isn't a negotiation with a gun in one hand."
Both the House and Senate are expected to vote this week on a fiscal 2010 budget resolution. The legislation includes a procedural rule known as reconciliation, which prevents Republicans from blocking legislation, limits debate and allows Democrats to pass the bill with a simple majority.
"You know, I can understand shaking Hugo Chavez's hand, but can't understand embracing his politics - basically shutting down the minority, which is essentially what this reconciliation issue is," Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, referring to President Barack Obama shaking the Venezuelan president's hand at the recent Summit of the Americas.
Ryan acknowledged that Democrats had authority to employ reconciliation, but said the tactic should be used to deal with spending issues - not major public policy proposals.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, who chairs the budget committee, also opposed using reconciliation, but said it wasn't his call to include it in the budget.
"It's in because the president, the speaker and the majority leader in the Senate all want it in," he said. "That's a lot more power than I bring to the table."
Still, Conrad said he didn't believe the Senate would need to use reconciliation, saying, "It's there as an insurance policy."
Under the budget proposal, Congress has until October 15 to develop a health-care bill. If lawmakers are unable to negotiate a bipartisan approach by that date, the Senate will be allowed to move forward with the expedited process.
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