Progressives may be denied their overriding health care priority this time around, but according to President Barack Obama, it won’t be over with this bill.
Obama urged leading progressive Democrats in a closed-door meeting Thursday evening to back the health care bill, placating their concerns about the public option and warning them that the liberal agenda was at stake.
Obama told the group of House members he thought the public plan didn’t have the votes this time, but reportedly assured them he’ll revisit it after the bill’s passage, warning that failure would imperil the issue for a generation.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said after the meeting that Obama’s message was, “If this opportunity passes, much of our agenda, on the progressive side…it would be difficult, if not impossible for a generation to get back to this issue,” according to Talking Points Memo.
“To maintain a strong presidency we need to pass this bill,” Grijalva summarized Obama’s remarks.
The congressman noted in a statement to reporters he was “encouraged” after Obama “personally committed to pursue a public option after passage of the current bill.”
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) added, “He encouraged us to understand that this is the beginning of health care reform, not the end of it — and that we will fix it later, as we have with Social Security and Medicare,” in an interview with The Plum Line‘s Greg Sargent.
“He doesn’t believe the Senate has 51 votes for the public option,” Woolsey said. She added that Obama “thanked” the assembled, telling them their advocacy made the bill much stronger and that this wouldn’t be the end for health reform.
Grijalva and Woolsey, the two co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have lately withheld their support for the bill but sounded sold on it by last night.
Sargent reported that Woolsey said “she’s now a definite Yes on the Senate bill” even if it excludes the public option. The congresswoman last week told Raw Story that if the public option fails she would introduce it in a separate package soon after its enactment.
“It’s pretty compelling,” said Grijalva, who on Wednesday told Salon he’s leaning toward voting no, of Obama’s remarks.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Obama told them in the meeting that “31 million people will have health insurance as a result of this bill.”
“I think [this] resonates for a lot of people,” Lee added.
A progressive health reform priority, the public option was approved by the House in its November bill. But liberals grew uneasy about the Senate bill in December, mainly because of the provision’s removal.
The meeting came one day after Obama urged Congress in a televised speech to “get it done,” even if it means using reconciliation to amend the Senate bill before calling for one final motion.
According to Huffington Post‘s senior congressional correspondent Ryan Grim, other attendees included CPC Health Care Task Force co-chair Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus chair Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), and Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Madeleine Bordallo (Guam) and Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands).
Kris Kobach ridiculed after losing comeback bid in Kansas: ‘Adios amigo’
Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the projected loser of the state's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Kobach, a longtime crusader against immigration, headed up President Donald Trump's so-called "voter fraud commission" before it was disbanded after failing to identify any widespread instances of fraud.
Kobach unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.
Here's some of what people were saying about Kobach's defeat:
Maddow reveals the ‘shocking sign’ the White House may be betting Trump is going to lose in 2020
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow returned from vacation to host the Tuesday evening edition of her MSNBC show.
Maddow noted, "in 91 days we all get to decide if the guy who's currently in charge of how we're responding to this epidemic should stay in the job for four more years or if Democratic candidate Joe Biden would do better at this."
"It's honestly hard to know what it will be like for a president to stand for re-election with 200,000 dead Americans as a key metric from his first term, while he asks for a second term, but we're going to talk tonight about how some of that is going to work and some of what we can see coming down the pike," she explained. "And a lot of it is very worrying, in terms of the institutions of our democracy and what we count on to keep us a constitutional republic."
Trump may break with ‘presidential norms’ and give GOP convention speech from the White House lawn: report
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Republicans are exploring the possibility of President Donald Trump giving his presidential re-nomination speech from the South Lawn of the White House.
"The decision to stage the most high-profile political event of Trump’s reelection campaign at the national seat of presidential power would be just the latest break by Trump in presidential norms, which have historically drawn clear lines between official business of the president and campaign events," reported Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey. "People involved in the planning said that no final decision had been made on the location of the Republican convention’s celebratory events. Trump abandoned plans to hold the full convention in Charlotte, and later Jacksonville, Fla., over concerns that large crowds could spread the novel coronavirus."