WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a wide-ranging interview set to air Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted success in her chamber on health care reform legislation.
“We believe that we have a good bill,” Pelosi tells CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“This isn’t about rushing,” the leading Democrat says amid criticism from Republicans that her party is trying to rush through massive changes to a sector that makes up a sixth of the U.S. economy.
Pelosi also tells King that two of the three House committees with jurisdiction over the reform legislation have already reported out a bill. Some Democrats are taking issue with the inclusion of a public insurance option in the legislation. But, Pelosi notes, the public option has “overwhelming support” of the House Democratic Caucus as a whole.
“It’s the Speaker’s job sometimes,” King told Pelosi, “to referee disputes within the family. Are you worried your family is coming apart on this and that you might not have the votes on the floor?”
“Absolutely, positively not,” Pelosi responded. “When I take this bill to the floor, it will win.”
Pelosi also weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Junior, calling it “an unfortunate incident.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama is soldiering on - apparently unfazed by growing dissension within his own party’s ranks over health care reform.
Despite increasing signs that Democrats in Congress will not meet the August 7 deadline originally imposed by Obama for passage of health care reform legislation, Obama is challenging his political opponents to explain their opposition to reforming the nation’s health care system.
“I know there are those who are urging us to delay reform,” Obama says in his weekly address out Saturday. “And some of them have actually admitted that this is a tactic designed to stop any reform at all. Some have even suggested that, regardless of its merits, health care reform should be stopped as a way to inflict political damage on my Administration. I’ll leave it to them to explain that to the American people.”
Obama uses the bulk of his address to make the case that small businesses will benefit from Democrats’ health care reform plan.
Citing a report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers that was also released Saturday, Obama says small businesses are paying up to 18 percent more than larger businesses do for the same health insurance plans.
These higher costs, says Obama, cause small business owners to be less likely to offer health insurance in the first place, to offer less generous plans, to cut benefits, to drop coverage, to cut jobs, or to close their doors altogether.
“This is unsustainable, it’s unacceptable, and it’s going to change when I sign health insurance reform into law,” the president says in Saturday’s address.
Earlier in the week, Obama appeared to set a new deadline for health care reform legislation.
“Let me just be clear,” Obama said at an Ohio town hall-style event dedicated to health care Thursday, “If there’s not a deadline in Washington, nothing happens -nothing ever happens.”
Responding to comments earlier in the day from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the Senate was not likely to vote on health care reform before the start of the congressional recess on August 7, Obama said “[t]hat’s okay. I just want people to keep on working. Just keep working.”
“And I want it done by the end of this year. I want it done by the fall,” the president added.
“It’s a prescription for disaster,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said in Saturday’s Republican address.
Pointing to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, Rodgers also highlighted the projected costs of the Democrats’ plan. The “proposal will drive health care costs higher than ever,” the congresswoman said.
And, Rodgers said, the Democratic plan will hurt small businesses and cost millions of jobs. Citing the National Federal of Independent Business, Rodgers said passing the Democrats’ health care reform plan could “destroy” a million small business jobs.
“Because of these extraordinary costs to families, small businesses, and future generations, alarm bells are sounding across the country,” the congresswoman said.
Related: GOP ratchets up health care debate
After touting the Republican’s own plan, Rodgers said, “[i]n the end, our real goal isn’t just to have medical coverage, but to have healthy families.”
In his own weekly address, also out Saturday, President Obama focuses on how the Democrats’ health care reform plan will benefit small businesses.
Updated: 12:13 p.m.
WASILLA, Alaska (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made it clear to hundreds gathered at a picnic in Wasilla on Friday night that she loves her hometown community.
"This being my last time to speak to the valley community as your governor, I do want to tell you sincerely that I love you," Palin said in one of her last speeches as governor.
"I appreciate you and your support, the support that you've shown my family. God bless you and God bless America."
Shouts of "We love you Sarah!" and "Sarah Palin in 2012" could be heard over the applause as she finished. Few seemed to have an unfavorable view of the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee at the event, which honors men and women in uniform.