Will presidential weight carry healthcare through?
President Barack Obama spoke. Republicans talked back.
No sign that anyone shifted positions after the president’s remarks today in the East Room at the White House with lots of white hospital coats in the audience.
In fact, it appears that the two sides — Obama and the Republicans — hardened their resolve, setting the stage for a political tug-of-war that’s only going to turn more fierce as the November elections near.
Obama wants it, Republicans oppose it. But it’s the congressional Democrats left trying to push through Congress an issue that has created discord within their own ranks. Democrats in the Senate differ from their colleagues in the House on what the legislation should look like — and not all Democrats support it.
Obama said as much in his speech without actually using the R word: “And now it deserves the same kind of up or down vote that was cast on welfare reform, that was cast on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, that was used for COBRA health coverage for the unemployed, and, by the way, for both Bush tax cuts — all of which had to pass Congress with nothing more than a simple majority.”
Republicans responded by using the election scare tactic aimed at Democrats worrying about losing seats in November — “Every election in America this fall will be a referendum on this issue,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Obama’s road trips next week to Philadelphia and St. Louis are aimed at creating momentum after asking Congress to schedule a vote in the next few weeks.
“From now until then, I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform,” he said.
Will Obama’s determination be enough to succeed where others have failed and get healthcare reform enacted?
For more Reuters political news, click here
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Obama speaks about healthcare reform), Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (McConnell talking about healthcare in December)