July 18th, 2009
01:07 PM ET
5 years ago

White House, GOP face off on health care as deadline looms

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.”

He argued that, despite what his critics said, he would not sign any bill that increased the deficit, that his plan would not result in government control over anyone’s health care or insurance choices, and that there would be no rationing of medical care.

Republicans were equally firm Saturday, saying they are going to fight the proposal and push for a cheaper bill – and called for Democrats to put the brakes on the move for summer passage.

"They propose to pay for this new Washington-run health care system by dramatically raising taxes on small business owners," Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl said in the Republican Web and radio address broadcast Saturday. "With a shaky economy and the need for new jobs, the last thing the president and the Congress should do is impose new taxes on America's small businesses."

“…the President and some Democrats insist we must rush this plan through. Why? Because the more Americans know about it, the more they oppose it. Something this important needs to be done right, rather than done quickly.”

Other elements of the president’s agenda, like the stimulus package and the energy bill, have passed with minimal or non-existent GOP support. And Democrats have since gained a 60th vote in the Senate, the number required to stave off a filibuster.

But it remains an open question whether the party can hold on to the support of enough of its own members to pass the president’s vision for a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats have found themselves in the crosshairs, facing political pressure from both sides of the debate, along with millions of dollars of targeted ads.


Filed under: Health care • Jon Kyl • President Obama
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. Michael, Gallatin, TN

    Crush them Mr. President. Once and for all, crush them into the dust and grind your boot until there is nothing left to even come together again.

    July 18, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  2. ran

    Once again the obstructionism by the GOP is in full force. People we can not allow the GOP and the current Health care industry scare us any more. We deserve affordable health care and now is the time for us to get it. Health care should never be for profit. Enough of CEO multimillion $ salaries and bonus and shareholder's dividends that come out of premiums. A single payer non-profit system is the only way to go and so demand it form your elected officials now and do not let up on them until we get it. Our health should not be for sale.

    July 18, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. bam

    Once again, President Obama nails it. The American people want a Public Option as one of their health insurance choices. The private insurance and pharmaceutical companies, along with their bought-and-paid-for legislators, will fight tooth and nail to ensure that their megaprofits continue at the expense of the rest of us.

    July 18, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Dee

    Funny. I guess its okay for members of his administration to make threats to Arizona state Senators and their constituents?.

    July 18, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. sandy

    You go Mr. President. You have the majority of the country behind you.

    July 18, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  6. deb

    Obama is the poster boy for scare tactics. Will someone please shake a can of pennies at him and make him go away? I can't stomach his unctuous voice or leering grin another second.

    July 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. alebiglio

    I can say only one thing, the Us is the ONLY first world country without an universal health care system, are we all stupid?

    July 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. Kajun

    Obama is right in saying it is the same old thing and that same old thing is about special interest lining the pockets of the Democrats because the have emptied the well on the other side. Shame, Shame on you Obama and Pelosi.....for selling us all out to your Union special interest at the sake of people that are suffering will illness....Shame one you for wrecking our economy for the sake of ACORN....Shame on you for trying to shove cap and trade down everyones throat to help Al Gore line his already buldging pockets for the sake of a lie (global warming). I thought that we had sank to an all time low with Bush....Well Obama is finding what is under the snakes belly. We are going on our fourth year of Democrats lies and deciept and we are sinking lower into the slum of socialism,,,,,though a few more czars are certain to help us??

    July 18, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. susie

    A lot of Democrats are afraid of the health bill too.

    July 18, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Moe, NY

    In my opinion, President Obama is 100% right on this issue, the republicans/conservatives are out in force using any scare tactic they can, and making up some scare tactics as they go! I work in the medical field, and believe me when I say it is a disaster as it now stands. Please people, do not swallow what the republicans/conservatives and lobbyists are throwing at you, it is, in my opinion, all lies. Health care for ALL AMERICANS....it is the right thing to do!

    July 18, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. c

    I got no problem with slowing the process a little for health legislation... remember the last big push in Congress - Georgie Dictator Bush shoved Iraq down our throats and thousands of kids have died for NO reason.

    Odd, though, that Repubs are hollering slow down when they hollered speed up through the Iraq fiasco.

    July 18, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. Kevin

    What galls me is the gullibility of the American people sometimes. When someone proposes a gun-control measure, it is easy to get the masses running willy nilly screaming that the guv'min people are coming to take away all our guns. And those measures are nothing remotely like that. So it is no surprise to hear them cry "the guv'mint people are going to control your doctor and choose what you can have" (ironic since in reality that's exactly what happens right now - rich insurance companies often make those controls and have practically no limits on how much they can rake us over the coals). This claim about government is also completely false. Yet, the same mouthbreathing panic-attack population just shrugs when the government was (I hope "was") openly wiretapping without warrants. We have become a nation as mentally lazy and dull as the previous president. We can't all be rocket scientists, but there ought to be at least a modicum of logic, sense and calm, rational analysis of some facts.

    July 18, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Hannah Stevens

    This is a test as to whether President Obama can stand up to the health care lobbyists and prevail. It is a huge battle. These people run our country and we need need to get rid of them and take our country back for the people. I hope he wins because if he wins, we all win.

    July 18, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Gerda Edwards

    "In his radio and Web address broadcast Saturday — titled "Health Care Reform Cannot Wait"..."
    ======================
    LOL!!!

    He's using his same pot-calling-the-kettle-black tactics he used during the campaign. I have to give Pres Obama credit though - I can't imagine anyone one else being able to keep a straight face when accusing others of using scare tactics after making that the title of his address.

    July 18, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Christian

    Why is the title 'Whitehouse, GOP face off...'. Reality check, it should be 'Obama, GOP & Many Democrats face off'.
    Does anyone else find it odd that Obama and a handful of very liberal cabinet members are trying to cram this down your throats as quickly as possible. This is NOT GOOD for anyone. A privatized solution would put the country and your health and well being in a much better place.

    July 18, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. Denna

    It seems to me that the Republicans, and some Democrats, are most upset that President Obama is expecting them to produce bills in a timely manner. I've been listening to the news a lot lately and I can't help but wonder why his critics insist that he is 'moving too fast'? It is about time that the Houses of Congress learn how to put in a full workday and not discuss a bill into dust, then start again. Good job Mr. President and you lazy Senators and Congressmen stop fighting the man and get to work on a bill you can all agree on. Do some work for a change; we pay you enough.

    July 18, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. ck

    SIMPLE QUESTION:

    If Congress thinks this plan is so great

    WHY ARE THEY EXEMPTING THEMSELVES AND KEEPING THEIR PRESENT SPECIAL CONGRESSIONAL HEALTH PLAN??

    (An answer without name calling and facts provided would be nice)

    July 18, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. A Frightened Democrat

    Right decisions take time! Our President is pushing through items so quickly that I am now frightened! When he says: "Health Care Reform Cannot Wait" he seems to be pushing for something that is not in the best interest of our country. He is stripping us of all our free choices. As a concerned citizen, it seems the best use of time would be to get us on our feet economically and, then, tackle health care. When using a charge card, you have to know when you have reached your limit. At this present time, we DO NOT have the money for another purchase!

    July 18, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Frank

    Thank Mr, President for doing exactly what we elected you to do (ie, reform our healthcare system to provide affordable healthcare for ALL Americans).

    Shame on you Congress for your petty, partisan, political fighting over the reform of our healthcare system! We Americans deserve better. We deserve a public option in our healthcare system NOW!

    Stop fighting against president Obama and start working with him and your colleagues to deliver a meaningful healthcare reform bill that our president can sign!

    Milton Friedman is dead and so is the maket-based only system for healtchare in this country. Work out a Government option NOW!

    July 18, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Kate

    It's no wonder Obama and Pelosi are so close!! Because they lie as easily as they breath!! I understand that Obama wants control of our lives and he wants to ram this through before anyone really uderstands what's happening but doesn't he have any soul at all?

    July 18, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Gerda Edwards

    Or....

    “We know the same special interests and their agents in Congress and the White House will make the same old arguments, and use the same scare tactics that they've used to push reform before because they profit from gaining even more control of your life and forcing additional dependancy on them”

    July 18, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Mike Marlett

    So why does this story offer vague Republican criticisms of the plan without fact checking? It quotes Kyl as saying that the administration's plans to pay for this "by raising taxes on small business owners." Really? How so? What proof does Kyl have for this? Oh, perhaps he's referring to the recent Wall Street Journal article that starts, "House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled sweeping health-care legislation that would hit all but the smallest businesses with a penalty equal to 8% of payroll if they fail to provide health insurance to workers." And then it goes on to say that this really is businesses with more than about 10 employees (everyone from mom-and-pop to AT&T), and that it would cover 97% of Americans. But that's not a tax, it's a penalty for not offering health care. In fact, it gives small businesses a tax credit for providing coverage. It is a carrot and a stick.

    July 18, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. Chris

    This man appears to have an agenda that is against the best interests of the American taxpayer, you know, those people who make having a government possible. They are the ones who foot the bill when it's all said and done, not some group of non working people who seem to think the rest of America owes them something. Wake up Obama, come up with something that will 'shock' those who think they can live in the 'addiction' of welfare, food stamps, and health care without lifting a finger to help America.

    July 18, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. citizen

    Either you want health care reform or you don't. And if you do want reform then go ahead and support the President's plan NOW.

    July 18, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. AlwaysThinking

    Scare tactics is all the GOP has ... Lord knows they don't have any ideas!

    July 18, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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