President Barack Obama is expected to announce Wednesday what his next steps are for advancing health care reform through Congress.
Obama will discuss both the “process and policy” of his plan during a speech that he will deliver somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
Gibbs said Obama has “absolutely” been involved in crafting a final proposal since last week’s bipartisan health care summit. He said Obama will post his revised plan — which will not be in legislative form and which will be smaller than the House bill — on the White House Web site that day.
Gibbs sidestepped questions about whether the president will press Congressional leaders to use filibuster-busting reconciliation rules to pass health care — a path forward that Democrats appear all but certain to use. Democrats have been warming to reconciliation in recent weeks as it became increasingly evident they weren’t likely to pass an overhaul without it.
Obama “believes that an up-or-down vote is necessary,” Gibbs said. Pressed on what other options Democrats have, he said Senate Republicans “could decide not to filibuster, and that would be one way.”
Gibbs also said to expect Obama to help Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) round up votes to pass a final bill. The Speaker said Sunday she was confident she would have the votes to get a package done.
House Republicans are already salivating over the potential consequences of Democrats using reconciliation to pass health care reform, something they say will cost them in the November elections.
“It is my belief that the Democrats will lose their majority in November if they ram this thing through without any bipartisan support,” House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday on Fox News.
But Gibbs dismissed Cantor’s comments as shortsighted.
Cantor “is probably focused almost entirely on the next election. The president is focused on the next generation,” he said.