President Barack Obama on Monday expressed frustration with the pace of work on health care reform and roadblocks he sees developing before it but he did not repeat his demand that both the House and Senate pass their initial bills by the August recess.
Instead, the president, who spoke after meeting with health care providers at Childrens National Medical Center, demanded a bill by the end of the year, as he has in the past.
Recent statements by Obama and White House officials appear to bow to what many believe is the growing reality that passing legislation in the Senate by recess will be very difficult as Finance Committee members push back against Obamas pressure for a fast timetable. The White House is increasingly seen as softening the demand.
The closest Obama came Monday to reviving his demand was a statement that, Were going to have to do some work over the next few weeks. But he added, and the next few months.
Obama made a rare mention of the Republican Party by name as a cause of delay, pointing to one GOP Senator who he said had claimed that defeating Obama on health care would break the president and be his Waterloo.
Obama did not name the Senator, but the remark was reportedly made by Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.).
This isnt about me, Obama responded. We cant afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care.
Obama said there are some in this town who want perpetuate the status quo by fighting for special interests. He singled out for criticism the insurers, whom he had courted earlier in the year, accusing the industry and their executives of reaping windfall profits.
In an opinion piece for Yahoo News, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the overhaul of the health care system should be considered carefully.
Health care reform is too important to rush through a flawed proposal that will raise costs the opposite of what the American people want, Boehner wrote. After the Obama Administration insisted that Congress rush to enact a stimulus bill that by any objective account has not created the jobs that were promised, Washington cannot afford to make that same mistake on health care.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.