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White House Urges Senate to Meet Health Bill Deadline

Despite a chorus of doubts that the Senate will be able to pass a health care overhaul by the August recess, the White House on Monday continued to press for action before the self-imposed deadline.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested that the multiple priorities stacked up for completion in the fall, including health care, will bog down if the Senate fails to pass its version of the health legislation in the coming weeks.

Congress will “come back with a lot to do in a short period of time,— Gibbs said. But, he argued, “we’ve made a lot of progress.—

Gibbs acknowledged that many in the business community and insurers appeared to be moving against Obama’s overhaul plans. He said such opposition was consistent with what Washington, D.C., has heard before. “The rhetoric has yet to change on a lot of that,— Gibbs said. “Those that are seeking delay are doing so because they don’t want to see measurable progress on health care.—

Gibbs punted on whether Obama would ask Congress to stay into August to pass a health care bill, saying the process should get a little farther down the road before that idea is broached.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) are due at the White House at 4:30 p.m. to discuss the legislation.