President Obama delivers his health care address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 9, 2009.
Still clearly hoping that health care reform legislation might clear Congress at some point during his tenure in office, President Obama has summoned Republican and Democratic lawmakers to “put their ideas on the table” later this month and discuss possible ways to push a workable bill through both the House and Senate. However, some GOP types are already saying that there’s no way the bill would earn their approval in anything resembling its current form. —KA
At the planned half-day meeting, Obama said he wants a “large meeting with Republicans and Democrats to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.” Obama wants live television coverage of the meeting, said a White House official who asked not to be named.
Asked about starting over on the health-care debate, Obama said he wants to look at “very specific” ideas that Republicans present.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, responding to Obama’s idea, said legislation should start from scratch if Obama wants a measure that can get support from both parties.
“If we are to reach a bipartisan consensus, the White House can start by shelving the current health-spending bill,” McConnell said in an e-mailed statement. “There are a number of issues with bipartisan support that we can start with when the 2,700-page bill is put on the shelf.”