Obama Applauds House Health Bill Passage, Urges Quick Senate Action
President Obama is pressing the Senate to pass health care legislation as soon as possible. "The White House, growing concerned that the Congressional timetable for passing a health care overhaul could slip into next year, is stepping up pressure on the Senate for quick action, with President Obama appearing Sunday in the Rose Garden to call on senators to 'take up the baton and bring this effort to the finish line,'" The New York Times reports. "Mr. Obama has staked his domestic agenda on passing comprehensive health legislation, a goal that has eluded presidents for decades." The timing of the legislative agenda on health care is "crucial. Administration officials say Mr. Obama wants to wrap up work on health care so that he can turn his attention to other legislative priorities, including passing an energy bill and revamping financial regulations. But White House officials also know that the closer the final vote comes to the November 2010 midterm Congressional elections, the more difficult it will be to pass legislation" (Stolberg, 11/8).
The Hill: "On Sunday, Obama acknowledged the political difficulty that some lawmakers in the House had in coming to vote for the healthcare bill. 'Given the heated and often misleading rhetoric, I know this was a courageous vote for many members of Congress,' he said. 'And I'm grateful to them and for the rest of their colleagues for taking us this far'" (Yager, 11/8).
The Washington Post: "A year after his election, the health-care vote in the House was a reminder of the power that he still wields to shape the country's future, cajoling change that he promised as a candidate over the objections of a nearly unified GOP and a sharply divided party of his own. But the victory came on the heels of sobering evidence that even a president as popular as he remains is subject to the shifting public mood, an economy struggling to recover and events that are beyond his direct control" (Shear, 11/9).
Meanwhile, Obama "used Saturday night's House vote in favor of health care reform to raise money for the grass-roots group Organizing for America, telling its 13 million members that the victory heralds a tough fight in the Senate and that OFA needs their financial support," Roll Call reports. "'OFA has built a massive neighborhood-by-neighborhood operation to bring people's voices to Congress, and tonight we saw the result,' the president wrote. 'But the coming days will put our efforts to the ultimate test. Winning will require each of us to give everything we can, starting right now. Can you donate $25 or whatever you can afford so we can finish this fight?'" (Koffler, 11/8).