Clinton hopes for success where his effort failed
Former President Bill Clinton is clearly hoping that Congress succeeds this time around where his administration failed 15 years ago.
Clinton’s own effort to overhaul the healthcare system in 1994 fizzled long before reaching this far — the House of Representatives approved its version of a bill last weekend.
Clinton told Democratic senators at their weekly lunch that healthcare reform was an economic imperative and they should not let this latest opportunity slip away.
“It is not important to be perfect here, it is important to get it passed,” Clinton told reporters after the meeting. “The worst thing to do is nothing — that was my message today.”
President Barack Obama wants healthcare legislation passed by the end of this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping the Senate can do that, but time is running short as he awaits an official cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.
Reid faces a tough task of stitching together one bill from separate bills passed by two Senate committees that will garner the 60 votes needed to move it in the 100-member chamber.
Senators said the pep talk by Clinton helped.
“People trust him,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who is playing a major role in writing the Senate bill. “He has excellent political and policy judgments and he believes it is far better to pass healthcare legislation than not.”
“He’s the former president of the United States he’s got a lot of sway, he’s a big man.” Baucus said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus (Former President Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in August 2009)