State Of The Union Address: Obama To Squeeze In Health Reform Around Jobs, Economy Issues
President Barack Obama's upcoming State of the Union address will focus on jobs and the economy, but in addition to those issues, the president will likely continue his push for health care reform, The Boston Globe reports. Administration officials said Sunday that the president would "continue pressing Congress to complete its yearlong effort to enact health care legislation. ... The officials acknowledged, however, that the bill's fate is uncertain and the final version may bear little resemblance to the proposal Democrats had been on the verge of passing when Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate election gave Republicans the 41st vote they needed to block it" (Wangsness, 1/25).
USA Today: "The prime-time speech, which will be aired on all major TV networks and cable news channels, could hardly come at a more critical time for a president grappling with double-digit unemployment, sinking poll numbers and the possible collapse of his top domestic policy priority, an overhaul of the nation's health care system. Dee Dee Myers, Bill Clinton's first White House press secretary, says Obama needs to 'show some contrition' and let voters know that 'he gets it' on health care and frustration with the slow pace of the economic rebound. She says Obama should acknowledge that the Democrats went about overhauling health care 'in a way that left people with more questions than comfort'" (Hall, 1/25).
The New York Times reports that the White House "wants to use Wednesday's address to explain how initiatives like the health care overhaul fit into his broader plan for job creation and the economy. How Mr. Obama will address health care in the State of the Union speech, though, remains an open question. Officials on Capitol Hill and at the White House said their talks on how to proceed with the legislation might not be resolved by Wednesday. This could put Mr. Obama in the awkward position of talking about a measure that is on shaky ground" (Stolberg, 1/24).