Waxman Optimistic After Meeting With Obama

Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:03pm

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) told Roll Call on Tuesday afternoon that he is optimistic a deal can be reached this week that would allow health care legislation to move out of his committee.Waxman spoke after an extraordinarily long White House meeting between committee members and President Barack Obama at which participants sought ways to reduce the costs associated with the bill.Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), who leads the Blue Dog task force on health care, told reporters a variety of “cost-containment— measures had been reviewed but that there were “no final decisions— because the provisions must be scored.Sources said the Members spoke with Obama for close to an hour and then continued negotiations for about another hour with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other top Obama aides. A meeting of such length is highly unusual at the White House and indicates that Obama and White House officials waded deeply into the details with lawmakers and are intent on getting a vote in the committee.