Obama pushes health care reform - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Obama pushes health care reform

WASHINGTON (WAOW)-- President Obama will be in Philadelphia today and St. Louis later this week pitching his plan for health care reform.  The President's deadline for an "up or down vote" is just days away and it's  not clear whether he's got enough Democrat votes for passage.

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, says " We're hopeful there will be Republican votes, but I'm not sure if there will be."

The President, along with congressional Democrats, has all but given up on passing a bi-partisan bill.

On the Sunday morning talk-shows, the GOP pleaded for an alternative.  Senator Lindsey Graham, (R) Budget Committee, says "Please don't do this, just please.  I'll work with you to find a smaller bill that the American people feel more comfortable about."

The White House has set a deadline of March 18th to get a healthcare bill passed in the House of Representatives.

Republicans claim the president's proposal will carry a 2.5 trillion dollar price tag over the next ten years.  And they point to waning public support.

Senator Mitch McConnell, (R) Minority Leader,  says" People are very, very skeptical about starting a whole new government program when we're drowning in a sea of debt."

Even with a large majority, Democrats will have to work hard to get 217 votes in the house.  Eleven democrats, led by Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, want stronger language blocking federal funding for abortion.

It appears the Democrats' plan is to have the House pass the Senate bill.  The House would then pass a second bill that would make certain modifications. That second bill would go back to the Senate and would require only 51 votes for passage.

Online Reporter: Jill Courtney

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