President Obama's health-care address to Congress Wednesday has drawn
mixed reactions on Capitol Hill, with Democratic lawmakers saying they
are inspired to move forward quickly on health care reform
legislation. But Several Republican lawmakers say they remain
Democratic lawmakers were out in force Thursday praising
President Obama's health care speech as a "game-changer," and appeared
energized to move forward on legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
of California said reforming the U.S. health-care system is probably
the most important initiative Congress would ever take up, and that she
is confident the president will sign a bill this year.
we'll pass health care reform, health insurance reform that will work,
that will work for the American people. As the president has said,
lower in cost, improving quality, expanding coverage, and retaining
choice," she said.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New
York said President Obama had staked out "high moral ground" by using
the speech to reach out to Republican lawmakers, and especially to
independents [voters] among the American people.
"The ball is
now clearly in the court of the Republican Party," he said. "Are they
going to continue to just say "NO", or will they meet us part of the
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois called the
speech "specific" on details and bipartisan. But Republican Senator
Jon Kyl of Arizona strongly disagreed.
"I though the speech was
partisan, uninformative, disingenuous and not likely to encourage those
who have honest disagreements with him to be able to work towards some
kind of common solution," he said.
Senator Kyl said Republicans
would work on introducing a series of six or seven separate bills on
changing the current health-care system.
Eric Cantor of Virginia said he saw a striking disconnect between the
message the president delivered and the fear that is prevalent among so
many Americans that the health insurance they have now may be replaced
by government-run health care.
President Obama promised
Americans in his speech that if they are happy with the health-care
insurance they have now, there is nothing in proposed legislation that
would force them to change.
Before health-care legislation can
be approved, lawmakers will have to hammer out bills in each house of
Congress, and merge them into one before to sending the plan to
President Obama's desk.
Senate Finance Committee negotiators were set
to resume talks Thursday to try to find bipartisan agreement on a bill,
although Democratic committee chairman Max Baucus said Wednesday he is
ready to move forward without Republican support if he must. Vice
President Joe Biden says he believes health care reform legislation
will be passed before the American Thanksgiving holiday in late