From NBC's Luke Russert and Mark Murray
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Republican House leaders criticized the Democrats' health-care legislation, arguing that it wouldn't reduce the deficit, contrary to the Congressional Budget Office's preliminary score.
They also maintained that Democrats don't have the votes to pass the bill, and they said that the sole House Republican to vote for the House health-care bill last November -- Joseph Cao of Louisiana -- will vote against the current legislation.
"This bill is a budget Frankenstein," said GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, ranking member of the House Budget Committee. "It is a house of cards. It's going to give us a huge deficit now and an even larger deficit in the future, and we can very clearly map this out with CBO numbers."
House Minority Leader Eric Cantor added, "CBO's estimate is just not accurate. If they can go about and the Democratic majority can go about assuming this kind of fiscal state, one really has to question how it is we are going to see the course for our future chartered in any responsible way."
Cantor also said Democrats don't have the votes to pass the legislation. "We know that we need 38 Democrat no votes in order to defeat this bill. Publicly right now, there are 33 stated 'no' votes on the Democratic side. We also know that there are 12 members of the so-called Stupak group who are standing firm against the government funding of abortion. And we also know if you add that 12 to the already 33 'no' votes, there is no way they can pass this bill."
(But already some members of Stupak 12 -- like Dale Kildee, Charlie Wilson, and Jim Oberstar -- say they will vote for the legislation.)
On Cao, Cantor said: "Yes, I have spoken to Joseph Cao as recently as an hour and half ago, he is a firm no against this bill."