The President Pushes Dems To Finalize Health Reform Quickly
President Barack Obama told Democratic leaders Tuesday to finalize the health reform bill as soon as possible. He also encouraged them to bypass the usual conference committee in favor of acting quickly on the bill, The Associated Press reports. "Obama delivered the message at an Oval Office meeting Tuesday evening with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his No. 2, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., joined in by phone." Obama will meet again with congressional leaders Wednesday. Democrats hope to have a bill to Obama before the State of the Union address (Werner, 1/6).
Roll Call: "President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to boost the White House's involvement in health care reform negotiations as the House and Senate seek to craft a final bill that can pass Congress this winter reports that Obama is also pledging to be more involved in the effort to pass health reform. A Democratic source said Obama, during the Tuesday evening meeting, also offered to be more involved in helping to set the legislative agenda for the upcoming year. "The promised White House involvement in refereeing health care disagreements between the chambers as well as in other policy priorities was greeted warmly by Democratic leaders, who had been eager for more White House support during the course of the past year. House and Senate Democratic leaders struggled in recent months to clear health reform bills in their respective chambers, and are now eyeing February as the month to get a bill to Obama's desk." And, the article notes, "Obama has largely shied away from taking firm policy positions - on health care, in particular - leaving it up to Democrats in Congress to hammer it out" (Pierce and Koffler, 1/5).
Reuters: "President Barack Obama and aides will make the public case for reform in speeches, interviews and blog posts in the weeks ahead." They will also work behind the scenes to push reform (Zengerle, 1/5).