WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama’s political team is expanding its ad buy pressuring lawmakers to support the administration’s health care plan, adding 15 more markets as the president’s August target date for congressional passage of the package nears.
The 30-second TV ad from Organizing for America, the president’s political arm at the Democratic National Committee, is already airing in eight states - Arkansas, Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Ohio – represented by moderate Republican and conservative Democratic senators the White House needs on board for any vote on the massive health care overhaul.
"It's Time" will now begin airing in the Savannah, Palm Springs, Seattle, Nashville, Bloomington, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Little Rock, Columbus, Marquette, Grand Rapids and Medford media markets, according to the DNC – all areas within districts represented by members of Congress who are viewed as swing votes on a key committee weighing the president’s plan. Four-fifths of those lawmakers are Democrats.
The ad - which features ordinary Americans relating health insurance difficulties they’ve faced - does not mention legislators by name, but does ask viewers to call Capitol Hill, and provides the telephone number for the U.S. Capitol switchboard.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Pennsylvania state workers' paychecks are a little light these days.
Struggling to resolve a 17-day-old budget impasse, Pennsylvania is withholding pay for 69,000 state employees for time worked after July 1. Workers Friday received only 70% of their salary, covering days worked in June. Starting two weeks from now, they'll get nothing on payday until a state budget is approved.
Related: California's budget mess
Pennsylvania is one of three states that have yet to pass budgets for fiscal 2010, which began July 1. The other two - Connecticut and North Carolina - are operating under temporary spending measures. Still two others, Illinois and Ohio approved their 2010 budgets this week.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - With the White House deadline for congressional passage of his health care agenda just weeks away, President Obama and the GOP faced off on the issue Saturday.
High-profile White House events this week made the hard sell for the plan currently being considered by Congress. On Friday, a bipartisan group of half a dozen senators asked the president to slow the pace, and relax the summer timeline he’s given Congress to act.
In his radio and Web address broadcast Saturday - titled "Health Care Reform Cannot Wait" - Obama resisted that effort, and shot back at critics of his plan.
“We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that have stopped reform before because they profit from this relentless escalation in health care costs,” said the president. “And I know that once you’ve seen enough ads and heard enough people yelling on TV, you might begin to wonder whether there’s a grain of truth to what they’re saying. So let me take a moment to answer a few of their arguments.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's official: the first family is heading to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts for some vacation next month.
White House aides confirmed on Friday night what had been rumored for months but had been kept under wraps for security and other reasons, including the fact that vacation plans are very sensitive in the middle of a painful recession.
The aides said President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia will spend the final week of August together in Martha's Vineyard, a favored vacation spot for then-President Bill Clinton and his family in the '90s.
Aides have privately held open the possibility that Mrs. Obama and the girls may arrive at the vacation spot a few days earlier while the president works on a variety of issues, including his push for health reform.
Full text of President Obama's weekly address Saturday, a released by the White House:
Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
Right now in Washington, our Senate and House of Representatives are both debating proposals for health insurance reform. Today, I want to speak with you about the stakes of this debate, for our people and for the future of our nation.
This is an issue that affects the health and financial well-being of every single American and the stability of our entire economy.
It’s about every family unable to keep up with soaring out of pocket costs and premiums rising three times faster than wages. Every worker afraid of losing health insurance if they lose their job, or change jobs. Everyone who’s worried that they may not be able to get insurance or change insurance if someone in their family has a pre-existing condition.
Full text of the GOP's weekly radio address Saturday, as released by the Republican National Committee:
SENATE MINORITY WHIP JON KYL (R-AZ) DELIVERS WEEKLY REPUBLICAN ADDRESS
“Hello. I’m Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl, of Arizona.
“Republicans believe all Americans should have access to quality health care and that we must find ways to reduce health care costs.
“The debate in Washington is about how we can achieve these goals.
“Republicans have put forward common-sense ideas, including rooting out Medicare and Medicaid fraud, reforming medical liability laws to discourage frivolous lawsuits, strengthening wellness and prevention programs that encourage healthy living, and allowing small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance like large corporations do.
“These changes do not require government takeover of the healthcare system, or massive new spending, job-killing taxes, or rationing of care.