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. Mike in MN

    This will be a tough call for Obama if he really wants to get specific about what is in the actuall bills and not just talk about health care reform goals.
    The Devil is in the details of the bills the means the use to achieve the ends.
    The details in the HR3200 bill are clearly a govermnent takeover of health care. If Obama openly supports the specific details of this bill it will be all over with the American people. All the talk of health care reform will not interfer with patient/doctor relationship, is not a government takeover and you can keep your private plan if you like it, will be exposed as a lie.
    It will be very interesting to see just how specific Obama is willing to get.

    September 2, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Stu-Florida

    Look at it this way... Make this like a Doctor visit (if you can afford one) You're (U.S.) very sick...the Dr. says, while giving you a large, thick, syrupy shot (recovery plans) in the butt, "this is going to hurt a lot, but you'll feel better in the morning".

    Go Get 'em Doc Obama. This has to happen. But, notjust for you...

    September 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Dan

    It's about time the President gets specific. The lack of specificity and the lack of having made "health care for all" a moral issue has crippled this effort. Republicans won't back it because they seek political advantage. Dems have been weak kneed and haven't asserted their votes. It's time they delivered the promise upon which they were elected.

    September 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. orionsway

    I also notice the language and attitude of conservatives – very nasty when they aren't getting their way. Sort of feels like the history behind dictators, tyrants, and others that seek power strictly to dictate their own beliefs. And what do liberals want? Oh yeah, to help people. Nothing peevs a conservative more than trying to help somebody else when it does nothing for their own personal bottom line.

    When bankers line their pockets its called capitalism. When oil companies rake the common person its called capitalsim. When the health industry bankrupts an individual for that heart surgery, its called capitalism. But when somebody wants to help out the common folks, they call it all kinds of names. How terrible for you.

    September 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Grrr-awful-o

    Yaaaawwwnnn... The Obama Show is on every day. And they're all reruns...

    September 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Jeanne

    Can't wait to fall asleep listening to TOTUS again.

    September 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Charles

    The president should go before Congress, because the whole country needs to know the truth about health care and the special interest groups that are influencing Republicans. The scare tactics being employed the Republicans is a direct product of special interests influence on Republican congressmen and congresswomen. You cannot depend on insurance companies to do the right thing.

    You cannot depend on insurance companies to voluntarily lower prices. IT WILL TAKE A PUBLIC OPTION TO BRING INSURANCE COSTS DOWN. Asking private insurance companies to lower their costs would have been like asking slave owners to free their slaves. IT WILL TAKE GOVERNMENT TO GET PROFITEERS TO LOWER HEALTH CARE MEDICAL COSTS.

    September 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Ernie in LA

    After all of his lies and his shady past, I do not believe ANYTHING that Obama says. He will tell us ANYTHING to get his way. How could Americans elect a man like this?

    September 2, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. Bill

    President Obama is playing catch-up and it took him a long time to figure out that he needed to do THAT.

    A real leader would have spoken to the American people, not Congress, much earlier than this.

    September 2, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. Wake Up

    why is profit bad? you programmed left are scarily ignorant. It's obvious you are all time-clock punching drones. Scary!

    September 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Neutralizer

    I'm OBAMAFIED! I can't listen to him anymore, I'll watch History while some of you will listen to LIAR-IN-CHIEF.

    September 2, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. CJG

    Nothing will do much good , this country is too divided and getting worse .
    The GOP will not agree to anything that this President proposes , this nation is sadly getting to a crisis with the hate that the GOP has for this President and Democrats.
    Obama has done a good job , he is smart and articulate and speaks well, and the rest of the world have favorable opinions of him. Exact opposite of G.W Bush. But instead of the GOP trying to work with him or even show respect him for his elected post , they decided long ago , they would not.
    So it will not matter what this president does , the repubs will not work with him , it was already set in stone , part of the creed of this party of NO!

    September 2, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Bobbie Blue

    At this point, the Democrats just need to PUSH IT THROUGH!! Nevermind the Republicans. Let them continue to be on the wrong side of history. Please do not waiver Mr. President!

    P.S – I noticed a few of you believe our current President is the worst in history. How is that cave you have been living in for the past 8 years? You got to be kidding!!

    September 2, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Cincy RN

    Let's have the public option!!!

    Everyday I watch my insurance stocks go up, do you realize the increase in $$s I'll make when the mandatory insurance requirement goes through. I wonder how many Congress folks and CNN are buying up Healthcare stock just betting on that.....if the public doesn't have an outcry for the public option and it doesn't go through...I'm not gonna feel guilty when my stock goes through the roof....and my 401K!

    I am no longer going to advocate for patient all just gave them up when you handed your care and $$ to the insurance companies....This is unbelievable that all Americans aren't demanding a public option....ignorance runs rampant in this is unbelievable!

    I say RAM The Public Option through....or I can't imagine Dems doing well in 2010 or 2012! I can't imagine the American people faring any better....I'll be rich!

    September 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. leticia

    Good, the more Obama opens his mouth the closer to self destruction he approaches.

    Palin 2012 !

    September 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Charles

    The Republicans want only to bring down President Obama. Republicans believe that such an end result will justify the collateral damage suffered to millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. They are a selfish group of people who do not care if all Americans have health insurance. As long as they have health insurance, then everthing is fine with them.

    September 2, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Real Healthcare Refrom will include reducing the fraudulent Medicare costs, Insurance Regulation, Tort Reform, etc

    $1200 for a manual wheelchair RENTAL? When the wheelchair costs $250 – $300 to purchase. This is how Medicare functions currently, let us not create another Medicare mess shall we.

    September 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. Mike in MN

    As I think about it, I'm not really sure what Obama can say that will help.
    If all seems to come down to the public option and Democrats.
    Too many Blue Dog Dems say they will not vote for a bill with a public option, so a bill with a public option can not pass.
    But too many liberal Dems say they will not vote for a bill without a public option, so a bill without a public option can not pass.
    And we are told this is all the fault of Republicans who got the crap beat out of them in the last election. Less than a year ago.
    Whose really in charge? Obama? Liberals? Blue Dogs? Republicans? Who is going to blink first?

    September 2, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. jj12345

    With a democrat in the white house, a huge majority in the house and senate, the dems cannot play the victim card. They have enough to pass the legislation, if its so great pass it. The dems are not allowing the republicians to add amendments so this thing was never bipartisian from the start.

    People keep saying that the republicians are on a misinformation campaign, that may or may not be true. Read the bill, there is some messed up initiatives in that thing. Both sides do it, look at the Iraq war, there were plenty of democrats that said that Sadaam had WMD's but when they were never found it was all Bush's fault.

    September 2, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. MT

    REAL Healthcare Refrom will include reducing the fraudulent Medicare costs, Insurance Regulation, Tort Reform, etc

    $1200 for a manual wheelchair RENTAL? When the wheelchair costs $250 – $300 to purchase. This is how Medicare functions currently, let us not create another Medicare mess shall we.

    Get rid of those "if you have had side effects from you Viagra call 1-800-SHYSTER and you may be entitled" class action lawsuits.

    September 2, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. susie

    Hope he talks about how much money this health care will cost.

    September 2, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. MT

    In July, a CNN investigation found that a patient and taxpayers were billed about $1,200 over four years for a nonmotorized chair, while a nearly identical chair could be bought from the same supplier for $349.

    Administration officials want to require competitive bids for items such as wheelchairs. But the American Association for Homecare, which represents many in the durable equipment industry, said the bidding program would

    reduce patient choice
    limit access to home medical care
    require more hospital stays

    September 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Albo58

    The president can give the greatest speech ever written, but his creditability and trust is shot so don't expect the American majority to tune in!

    September 2, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. Tom

    OK.. let's review:

    The USA ranks in the high 20's of all nations in life expectancy. (Jordan and Israel are higher according to most listings.)

    Of the top 30 nations for life expectancy, 27 of them have some sort of national healthcare plan for their citizens.

    EVERY SINGLE industrialized nation has a national healthcare program of some sort EXCEPT the United States.

    Why is it we can't get this done? Why has everyone else figured this out but us? Healthcare reform should be a matter of national PRIDE. But the GOP and GOP-controlled media (yes...that means you Rush and FOX) oppose it ONLY because it is not a GOP plan.

    Let's get it done!

    September 2, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. m smith

    This is a good idea but the repos won't buy it but maybe the american public will. We need health care reform and if the demos can push it through they should. People will see that it works. Maybe not right away bbut they will. Everyone is so worried about not being reelected that we have screwed around with this issue for the last 40 years.

    September 2, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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