- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, on Wednesday announced a set of guidelines to reform Capitol Hill negotiations on health-care reform that she says so far have been marred by “dirty politics” and “backdoor deals.”

“We don’t like these backdoor deals. We don’t like these kickbacks any more than the people do,” Mrs. Bachmann said in an interview with The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show. “So we are willing to sign our names to a statement.”

With a touch of political theater, she has named the document the Declaration of Health Care Independence and has fashioned it after the Declaration of Independence.

The document includes calls for more-transparent negotiations, a revitalization of doctor-patient relationships, a rejection of more debt, no abortion funding, no public insurance for illegal immigrants and a revitalization of the marketplace to create better reform ideas.

“Everything we’ve seen so far has been dirty politics,” Mrs. Bachman, a member of the Financial Services Committee, said.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, and other GOP lawmakers are joining Mrs. Bachmann in the effort. The group wants Americans to sign the document and encourages lawmakers to sign, too, according to Mr. King.

“We want to go forward, and we want to go under these rules,” he said in a separate “American’s Morning News” interview. “This lays out the things that we think are wrong and where we need to go.”

Still, he and Mrs. Bachman acknowledged they have yet to win bipartisan support for the declaration and don’t expect change from leaders of the Democrat-controlled Congress.

Mr. King said “the likelihood is very, very slim” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and other party leaders will open negotiations to Republicans.

“They iced out every Republican but one,” he said. “They migrated where they could get the votes for the most leftist proposal they could,” he said. “That’s who they are.”

When and how negotiations will resume is unclear.

President Obama’s efforts to pass health-care legislation early in his presidency has suffered two major setbacks recently — the lagging economy and high unemployment has forced him to refocus on creating more jobs. And last week, Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a win that took away Democrats’ 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate majority.

“As much as the president said he was for bipartisan reform, he wasn’t,” Mr. King said.