September 2nd, 2009
04:41 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama to address joint session of Congress next week

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will address the contentious issue of health-care reform in a speech before a joint session of Congress on September 9, multiple Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.

"The president is considering ... laying out a more specific vision" of health-care reform, said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

So far, Obama has outlined broad principles for what he would like in health-care reform, but he has left most details to leaders in Congress. Now, White House aides say, the dynamic has changed.

"We're entering a new season," senior adviser David Axelrod said. "It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done."

The new phase is being "driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP, including Senators Grassley and Enzi," the administration official noted.

The official added that the White House believes those actions indicate the two key Republicans - Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who have been part of a bipartisan group negotiating a health-care bill - "are essentially walking away from the table."

The official said that "now is the time to begin to pull together the various strands and solutions from the four bills that have been marked up and other proposals. ... Basically all the cards are on the table."

As momentum for health-care reform has slowed, Obama has come under growing pressure from liberal activists and leading congressional Democrats to provide more specifics.

"I think the president needs to step forward," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Tuesday. "Be more specific, more aggressively fight for a strong health-reform bill with a strong public option. I think he's going to do that."

Obama will host House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House next Tuesday afternoon to discuss the speech, two officials added.

The president called Reid on Wednesday morning to inform him about the speech, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

–CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Ed Henry, Gloria Borger, Brianna Keilar, and Elaine Quijano contributed to this report

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. Wade

    "...government funded medicaid/medicare benefits. "

    Those are TAXPAYER funded.
    I guess you think the feds make their own money... try again.
    Everything the government does is paid for via the collection taxes and tariffs.

    Anyone who thinks a public option will not raise taxes is a complete idiot.
    Anyone who thinks the costs can be offset via saves from other programs is an idiot too.
    The feds have never been able to successfully implement a new program without going grossly over budget and wasting billions in taxpayer money in the process.

    September 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Leonard

    I can not wait to hear the President speak. The GOP has scared the people half to death with so much misinformation. I wish he would have done this ealrier but he has his own game.

    On thing he is and that is smart. Repeublicans want to call him everything but a child of GOD. The funny thing is that they support the last president that called pilots helicopter drivers. WOW.

    September 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Obama Rocks

    Every time someone who does NOT HAVE insurance gets hurt or becomes ill, they to go to a hospital emergency room because doctors offices don't have to see them. Guess who gets billed at full price for that hospital emergency room visit when the uninsured can't pay? Taxpayers. Understand that our GOVERNMENT (you know; the one of, by and for the people of the United States) now provides both social security AND medicare benefits to elderly and disabled Americans. This means if you lose your job or are critically injured and can't work there is a safety net. Giving Americans the OPTION for public insurance introduces a new low-cost competitor in the insurance market which will help lower everyone's cost, as competition does. Making sure everyone has at least this bare-minimum public insurance, presumably by default, lowers the cost to our treasury (the place where our taxes go) for health care delivered in hospital ERs. SUPPORT President Obama, support Health Care Reform and God Bless the United States of America.

    September 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. armass

    We must not let the lunatic fringe determine what kind of health care we have in this country. It is just plain stupid to do that.

    Opponents of reform just want the best health care that corporate America can afford to give us without reducing their profit margin. Again they are just ideologues and the repercussions of continuing the current system are not important to them.

    September 2, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Larry of Massachusetts

    Mr President, you control the White House; you have a filibuster proof majority in the House and Senate. If you want to pass health care , go ahead and do so with you rown party. You do not need to speak wot the GOP – why change now? Now, after passing your legislation, do not be surprised when you do not return for a second term; or when the Democrats lose their majority in the Senate; or lose about 40 seats in the House.

    September 2, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    What you will not hear in his speech:

    1. Details about what will be covered.
    2. How much it is going to cost, and
    3. How it will be paid for.

    He's not stupid. He knows it is being recorded and there's nothing worse than what 60 Minutes can do with recorded lies. If the Democrats pass this thing, 60 minutes will be all over it showing what a nightmare government health care is and how it costs an order of magnitude more than they 'promised'.

    September 2, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. boyce moudy

    Doesn't this man know when enough is enough. The people do not want a trillion dollar health fiasco. Wher does he expect to get this money except from the elderly and that still isn't enough.

    September 2, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    It's about time the president needs to take his case to the american people & get the healthcare bill passed with a public option. the hell with the republicans& blue dogs.

    September 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. IndyVoter

    OMG! Are you serious with the teleprompter comments again??? Grow up! In a way I am glad that the sheer ignorance and hate felt my many in the Republican party is coming to light. It was undercover, now its full blown! Thanks for letting America see just how jaded and wicked you are.

    September 2, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Bates

    I am sure he would like to indocterinate them to like he is trying to do with our children. I despise OBAMA.

    September 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Regressive Party Refugee

    He's wasting his breath. The jack-booted red state congressmen won't violate party dictates for fear of Rush and Boehner evicting them from their comfortable, cushy big money-funded positions.

    Republicant motto: Party before country, party uber alles.

    September 2, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Jake

    I can't wait to hear him speak! I would love to have health insurance one day!

    And if it wasn't for Kenneth Starr and the GOP, the whole country would have had health insurance by now thanks to Hilary Clinton!

    the GOP kills....

    September 2, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Kennedy Land - Taxachusetts

    Obama's health care reform = Middle Class tax increases. Anyone who doubts this fact did not pass the third grade in math.

    Obama's health care reform = rationing of care. ANyone who does not uderstand this fact is naive as one cannot add 50 million new patients who are now not covered to a health care system that is already stretched thin. Do the math folks.

    Obama's health care reform = no provision for drug relief by generic drugs or being able to buy competitively from Canada. Mr Obama's advisor, the hpharma lobbyist Tom Daschel has seen to this.

    Obama's health care reform = a deterioration in the quality of health care. Just ask the OMB, the indeoendent body appointed by Democrats.

    Obama's health care reform = No provision for tort reform – complements of the Lawyers' lobby

    September 2, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Harley

    The Teleprompter King should leave our Heath Care alone !!! Keep Gov. OUT !!! We are not a SOCIALIST COUNTRY !!!

    September 2, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Jason

    Here's a thought: if the Democrats would leave the previous administration alone and start focusing on their own current problems (and backpedaling), maybe Cheney, et. al., wouldn't be firing off comments that the DNC gets upset about. But I know, blaming the previous administration and focusing on the previous administration instead of manning up on the reality of *today* is just politics as usual from both sides of the isle. Republicans did it when Bush was in office on Clinton as well.

    No wonder we can't get anything done in this nation these days. At least when Clinton was in the White House and Republicans ran Congress there were compromises from both sides and things got done! Now the mentality is "you are either with us or we'll force ram this through without any support from your side." You liberals on the far left are doing more to shift the center back to the right than you know. Enjoy your power grab while you got it!

    September 2, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. M. I. Johnson

    Mr. President: Strongly urge all congressional republicans and concurring blue dog democrats to forth rightfully resign from their government run, socialistic health care plans. Additionally, urge them and those of their ilk to stop deliberately spreading lies in the hopes of terrorizing the public on health care reform. What a bunch of self-avowed God-fearing liars.

    September 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Denis - Toronto

    The Healthcare debate in the U.S.A. is becoming almost hysterical and disgraceful. Your Healthcare Reform debate should be honest, accurate and the TRUTH should not be distorted by Lobbyist and Special Interest Groups including the majority of Republican Politicians. The Healthcare System in the U.S.A. is NOT-THE- BEST system in the world. Let us not confuse the high quality of Medical Technology in the U.S.A. with quality of the Healthcare System in the U.S.A.
    The W.H.O. places the U.S.A. at 37th (Does #37th = BEST??) and so it would seem that a large # of Republican politicians either cannot read or count or simply enjoy telling untruths, in the hope that some Americans get brainwashed or all, as stated!!

    September 2, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Wake Up

    People voted for change to an honest government, NOT A MARXIST govt. You obamabots...really don't understand a large federal govt. was exactly THE OPPOSITE of why/how America was founded. Big Governement = less freedoms, more waste, high unemployment. WAKE UP.

    September 2, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. MT

    I hope you will tell me how the US plans to Fund this without using the "look honey how much I saved because it was on sale"

    How does the US plan to staff medical facilities when these 10 – 40 million hit the doors?

    How does the US plan to staff up mental health facilities when all the drug addicts hit the hospitals for their taxpayer provided Valium?

    How will you insure that this provides READ REFORM unlike the Democrats last reform NAFTA?

    September 2, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Deuce

    Is anybody really listening to the Issues? Nothing Barack Obama ever promised can happen. Nothing! Wannabe's, you all are.

    Realists? Your not...

    September 2, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Deuce

    Vision? Obama need Bi-Focals...

    September 2, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. phoenix86

    Dear CNN,

    Any chance at all that you'll get around to reporting that Obama will televise directly into the classrooms next Tuesday and that the government is suggesting that teachers work with students to write out how they can "help the President". To me, that's so Hugo Chavez and Korean Kim that it's creepy.

    Just a thought that CNN may want to get around to actually reporting on the news every once in a while.

    September 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. Checkmate

    Why did Republican's fabricate information for people to use at Town Hall meetings?

    Isn't that a clue to people that their motives might be false?

    It has been proven on non-partisan sites such as, that they did indeed lie regarding this reform.


    September 2, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  24. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Ram it through!

    September 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. orionsway

    what a bunch of cry babies in this county – of course its going to cost more – nothing is free. All those folks crying the blues about socialism vs capitalism – you just don't get it, do you??!! The corporation doesnt care about any of us, just our money. Its the govt's role to moderate between big business and the needs of society. Health care in this cournty is now big business, and if you don't think health care rationing is going on now, you are seriously out of touch with reality.

    And by the way, would you have prefered our capitalist society to have collapsed in on itself last fall? Or are you enjoying whatever stability you have today because the gov stepped in before it was too late.

    Wake up folks and don't be pawns of big business. Stop spreading fear and hate and repeating catch phrases literally handed to you by some ultra conservative. Try thinking for yourself.

    September 2, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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