News / USA

US House of Representatives to Hold Crucial Health Care Vote Sunday

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold a crucial vote on Sunday on sweeping health care reform legislation. President Barack Obama has postponed his planned Asia-Pacific trip to Indonesia and Australia for a second time to be in Washington, D.C. as Congress votes on his top domestic priority after a year of debate and wrangling.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Thursday that President Obama is confident that the health care reform legislation will soon be the law of the land in the United States.

"I think health care is going to pass the House on Sunday.  I believe shortly it will pass the Senate, and the president will be able to sign all of it into law," he said.

The president postponed his planned overseas trip until June to oversee the culmination of a year-long effort to pass health care reform legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled what Democrats hope will be the last, corrected version of a $940-billion health care reform bill, which will extend health insurance coverage to some 32 million people who are currently uninsured.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released figures Thursday estimating the legislation will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over its first 10 years.

House Speaker Pelosi, who is still trying to nail down the 216 votes she needs for the bill to pass the House, was very pleased with the CBO numbers, which may help to win over fiscally-conservative Democrats who face tough re-election battles in November.

"For the health and well-being of American people, for the fiscal soundness of America's budget, for seniors, for our young people, for women, for small businesses and for competitiveness we will make history and we will make progress by passing this legislation," she said.

If it passes, the massive health care overhaul will re-structure one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and for the first time will require that most Americans carry health insurance and penalize medium-sized and large companies that don't provide health insurance coverage for their employees.  It will also place restrictions on insurance companies, for example by not allowing them to exclude people because of pre-existing medical conditions.

Democrats are using a complicated legislative process to pass the bill. First, the House will have to approve a Senate bill that many of its Democratic members strongly dislike. Then both chambers will need to quickly pass a package of corrections to the bill agreed to in negotiations with the White House.

Republican lawmakers have opposed the health care bill from the outset, saying it is too big, too expensive, and that it inserts government bureaucrats into American's medical decisions.
House Minority leader John Boehner has vowed that Republicans will "do everything that we can do to make sure this bill never, ever, ever passes", and some Republicans in the Senate say they have been studying Senate rules to do whatever they can to block the legislation if it arrives back in the Senate next week.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid