7.14.2009

Obama to Dems: Get Health Care Done Before Summer Recess; Dems Agree

President Obama told Democratic Leadership & specifically Max Baucus, to stop delaying Health Care reofrm and to get it done, or risk repeating the past reform debackle that President Clinton & the Democrats endured in 1994:

At the White House session, Senate leaders came under fire for a slipping timetable that may make it difficult to meet Obama's deadline for floor action by the August recess.

[snip]

In sessions with Democrats, Obama and his advisers remind lawmakers that the defeat of President Bill Clinton's health-care overhaul spelled electoral disaster for the party in 1994, costing Democrats control of both the House and Senate.

"Behind closed doors, he essentially says: If this sinks, we will have trouble in 2010," said Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at the moderate Third Way think tank. "If this goes down, they will lose a whole lot of momentum on everything else. Clinton's whole agenda went down" after the reform's defeat.

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Well it seems they got the message. From TPM:

Under increasing pressure from the White House, and to meet their self-imposed deadlines, leaders in both the House and the Senate recommitted yesterday to meeting their goal of passing separate health care bills before the looming August recess.

At an event anticipating today's release of House reform legislation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed, "We will be on schedule to do as we have planned to vote for this legislation before we leave for the August recess."

Later in the day, after a long meeting with President Obama, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed the same sentiment. "We are going to do health care before we leave," Reid said.

Because of the peculiarities of the Senate, Reid will have a harder time matching word to deed than will Pelosi, despite the fact that the Senate isn't scheduled to adjourn until a week after the House does. For its part, the White House suggested yesterday for the first time that it would consider asking either or both houses of Congress to delay their recesses if they haven't prepared legislation for a conference committee by the time they're set to depart.

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