News / USA

Obama To Sign Health Bill, Intensify Work on Other Agenda Items

Multimedia

After Sunday's historic vote in the House of Representatives on legislation to reform the U.S. health care system, President Obama is embarking, with some new political capital, on a path that attempts to focus Americans on advantages health care reform will bring, while he works on other important agenda issues.  Opposition Republicans have launched efforts to repeal the health care legislation, but the president plans more cross-country travel to deliver his message after he signs the bill on Tuesday.

Even before the 219 to 212 vote, White House aides were going out of their way to underscore the importance President Obama places on moving ahead with other aspects of his agenda, including such things as U.S. financial system reform.

A week ago, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs made clear the president's determination to forge ahead, responding this way to a reporter asking if various political costs of passing health care reform might impair efforts to pass other objectives such as financial system reform.

"The American people, their [members of Congress] constituents, are not going to accept that a disagreement that was had in March affects your ability to institute stronger rules of the road on Wall Street in September," said Robert Gibbs.

The president signs the main health care reform bill on Tuesday, but the U.S. Senate must still consider changes to the measure.  Democrats hope for passage of these using a procedure enabling approval with a 51 vote simple majority.

Republicans have launched rhetorical and legislative challenges designed to weaken public support the White House may be able to gain on health care.  The bill also faces legal challenges in some U.S. states.

On Thursday, the president goes to Iowa, where he first laid out his health care reform plan in 2007, and where his victory in Democratic caucuses in 2008 boosted his presidential campaign.

Gibbs was asked on Monday if the political atmosphere had been poisoned by what has at times been a vicious debate over health care, possibly threatening chances for progress on other major agenda items.

"[On] financial reform, on campaign finance, on getting our economy moving again, all of the host of issues, immigration reform and energy, that we have talked about still being on the docket, I think the president will continue to reach out to Democrats and Republicans that want to make a positive effort on these issues," he said.

During the year-long health care debate the president and his advisors denied, particularly in response to Republican criticisms about the cost and size of legislation, that they were diverting from the difficult tasks of economic recovery and job growth.

With an eye toward avoiding losses in the November mid-term congressional elections, the White House now faces the challenge of sharpening further its focus on recovery and financial system reform, and gauging how to move ahead on the question of immigration.

Vice President Joe Biden will continue to play a key role, and used an appearance with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to underscore how  middle class Americans have been helped by tax breaks and other steps implemented in the first year President Obama has been in office.

"For President Obama and for me and for the whole team here, this was part of a goal that we set out when we first took office," said Vice President Biden. "It wasn't  just to rebuild the economy which was self-evidently necessary but also as we rebuilt the economy to rebuild the middle class."

On health care, Republicans are focusing on what they assert was arrogance on the part of the president and Democrats in pushing legislation that, according to many polls, Americans generally opposed, although polls also show strong public support for specific provisions of the measure.

On the floor of the House of Representatives, Minnesota Republican Michelle Bachmann predicted eventual repeal of health care reform,  bringing this response from California Democrat Bob Filner.

BACHMANN: "This Fall will take back a constitutional conservative majority and after the next presidential election, we will repeal this bill."

FILNER: "Ms. Bachmann, it's time to chill out, it's time to chill out.  Government takeover of the health care system?  Let it go!  The private insurance companies are still in charge.  Your private doctor is still in charge.  You have the choice of where you want to go, what hospital you want to do."

In attempting to blunt Republican criticisms, President Obama and Democratic party leaders will have to focus on specific provisions of the health care legislation that will go into effect immediately, and as Gibbs said on Monday work to ensure they are implemented speedily and efficiently.

Asked what lesson the health care debate had delivered for the president, White House spokesman Gibbs said President Obama learned that he is willing to make very tough decisions and see [them] through.  

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid