News / USA

Obama Meets Democrats to Rally Support for Health Care, Financial Steps, Jobs

President Barack Obama met with congressional Democrats on Thursday to push for a deal on legislation to reform the U.S. health care system.  The president pointed to accomplishments by Democrats in responding to the economic crisis.  Mr. Obama also called on lawmakers to resolve their differences and move ahead to pass a final health care bill based on measures already approved by the House and Senate.
 
The president's visit to Capitol Hill came as House and Senate Democrats continued negotiations to forge a single health care bill from two pieces of legislation the chambers approved late last year.

Both measures would extend health insurance to at least 30 million more Americans.  Although they are similar, they are also different in some major respects.  Republicans have unanimously opposed both bills.

In his remarks to a House Democratic policy meeting, the president spoke about the situation in Haiti, restating the U.S. commitment to the earthquake recovery effort.

The president then turned to the accomplishments of the Democratic Congress, heaping praise on Democrats for their response to the financial crisis and recession, and the passage of a job-creation bill.  Mr. Obama then focused on health care, taking aim at Republican criticisms.

"I know everybody in the media is all in a tizzy [saying], 'Oh, what is this [health care legislation] going to mean politically?'  Well, let me tell you something," said President obama. "If Republicans want to campaign against what we have done by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over American families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have.  If their best idea is to return to the bad policies and the bad ideas of yesterday, they are going to lose that argument."

After a lengthy meeting at the White House the previous day, House and Senate Democratic leaders signaled they had made significant progress toward resolving key issues on health care.

But the House is unlikely to include in its version a proposed government-run insurance option to compete with private insurance companies, the preference of many House Democrats.

Other issues include a Senate proposal to tax expensive health insurance plans, something labor unions and many House Democrats have opposed.  There were some indications on Thursday that a deal might be close between the White House and labor leaders on the issue.  

President Obama's Capitol Hill visit came amid renewed anger over the issue of how hundreds of billions of dollars in government bailout funds have been used by banks and other financial institutions.

House Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Peter Welch introduced legislation to impose a high tax on bonuses paid to executives of banks who profited as a result of support funds received from the government's Troubled Assets Relief Program.

"All banking corporations, whether they received direct assistance or not, received substantial benefits from government bailouts," said  Dennis Kucinich. "Banker's failures to self-regulate, let us remember, were the direct result of the crisis we are in today.  They need to be told that the money they are making is a public trust, not something they have earned for good behavior."

Earlier, President Obama announced his intention to impose a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee as part of the 2011 fiscal year budget he will send to Congress in the coming weeks.

Republican Representatives, such as Phil Gingrey of Georgia, immediately assailed the plan and have generally kept up their opposition to the president's policies, which they assert will lead to more job losses and bigger government deficits.

"The American people cannot afford anymore of the Democrat's agenda for killing jobs and growing [the size of] the federal government," said Phil Gingrey.

The president also referred to concerns among Democrats about potential losses in midterm congressional elections this November because of the drop in the president's public approval ratings.

"I know that some of you have gotten beaten up at home," said Mr. Obama. "Some of the fights that we're going to go through this year are going to be tough as well.  But just remember why each of us got into public service in the first place.  We found something that was worth fighting for."

Although President Obama has been frustrated by Republican opposition to his policies, starting with his economic stimulus package last year, he plans to address congressional Republicans who have invited him to their annual party conference retreat later this month. 
 

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend 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.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More