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WASHINGTON — In a striking display of discord Thursday, leaders of the Senate’s health committee clashed over a proposal to increase the number of primary care doctors and nurses in the United States.

In drafting the policy, Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) circumvented Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the Republican leader on the panel. He instead negotiated with a lower-ranked Republican on the committee to produce the legislation, which Cassidy then refused to support. The friction has consequences, as the proposal is attached to critical funding for community health centers.


“Is this a perfect piece of legislation? No, I don’t think so. … In fact, Sen. Cassidy will be giving us 67 reasons, in his amendments, as to why he opposes this bill,” Sanders deadpanned during a markup of the legislation on Thursday.

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