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Congress wants details about Obama's healthcare reform deals

Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman joins Republicans in calling for details on any deals the White House may have made with special interests in crafting healthcare reform legislation. Did industry groups get special treatment?

Henry Waxman (D) of Calif. speaks after he and other Democrats met with President Barack Obama at the White House in July. Listening from left are, Rep. Mike Ross (D) of Ark., left, Rep. Baron Hill (D) of Ind., and Rep. Frank Pallone (D) of N.J.

Alex Brandon/AP/File

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In an unusual bipartisan move, Rep. Henry Waxman (D) of California joined Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce panel Wednesday in a call for the Obama White House to produce documents and details on the deals cut with industry groups on healthcare reform.

Those agreements – never released in any detail – set markers for Congress’s work on healthcare, which many lawmakers felt bound to respect.

“Allowing these deals to guide the legislative process is a dereliction of our responsibility as legislators and reflects poorly on this committee,” said Rep. Michael Burgess (R) of Texas at a markup of a resolution of inquiry before the Energy and Commerce panel.

When Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of Florida proposed mandating more cost cuts from drug companies, colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee voted it down, citing a deal between the Obama White House and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

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