Gibbs Says White House Wants Pre-Recess Action on Health Bills

Posted July 20, 2009 at 2:06pm

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated that President Barack Obama wants initial bills passed in the House and the Senate by the August recess, but without the type of insistence White House officials have used in earlier statements.

“The president believes we’re making good progress, and the president believes we can get this done by August,— Gibbs said after repeatedly being prodded to restate the August deadline. “We’re working with the Finance Committee to see what progress can be made.—

Gibbs’ posture appears to reflect that of Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, who on Sunday described the August recess as a “goal— for passing legislation.

The legislation is still stuck in the Senate Finance Committee, which had originally hoped to produce a bipartisan bill by the July Fourth recess.

Gibbs also dismissed suggestions that the annual midsession budget review was being delayed from July to August because economic and budget projections will be worse than those forecast earlier by the administration.

He said it was normal for new administrations to delay the document because it takes time for them to hire the people who must produce it.