September 16th, 2009
06:29 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama steps up Senate lobbying on health

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As a health care reform bill sponsored by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus got a cool reception from Republicans and some Democrats on Capitol Hill Wednesday, President Obama quietly held a White House meeting with two Senate sponsors of a rival health care proposal.

The meeting late Wednesday afternoon with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden and GOP Sen. Bob Bennett was not on the President's public schedule, but senior administration officials confirmed it took place and characterized it as being part of Obama's ongoing effort to reach out to lawmakers in both parties. Wyden and Bennett have long pushed a bipartisan reform bill that would create state-run insurance exchanges through which consumers could select various plans, including their existing employer-sponsored plan.

Republicans officials privately contend the meeting, which came on the same day Baucus rolled out his plan, suggests the president is looking for alternative legislative vehicles that could attract GOP support as the clock continues to tick on the reform effort.

But senior administration officials sharply disputed that characterization, saying Wyden has been trying to get an audience for the legislation for some time, and the president has always intended to meet with the lawmakers. The officials said the timing of the meeting was coincidental to the Baucus unveiling, and that the president simply wants to continue reaching out to lawmakers in both parties who are serious about reform.

The Wyden-Bennett meeting came right after Obama held a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who on Tuesday was sharply critical of the emerging Baucus proposal.

Senior administration officials say the president had planned to bring Rockefeller in for a meeting before the senator made his critical comments, and that there was no tension. The senator emerged from the White House meeting telling reporters that he was still hopeful for a bipartisan compromise.

When asked to describe the president's privately-relayed position, Rockefeller said Obama is "philosophical - and like I - optimistic" a a health care reform deal can still be reached.

Rockefeller said the rhetoric flying around Washington is merely political posturing, and both sides will eventually zero in on crafiting a deal. "As you get to actual casting of votes, people get a lot more serious," he said.


Filed under: Health care • Obama administration
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. MatthewDetroit

    Section 2511 of HR 3200 – The Health Care Bill.

    Makes a provision for PLANNED PARENTHOOD to set up clinics INSIDE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    Thats right folks. The liberal left wing wants to put abortion clinics and PRO ABORTION STAFF inside your public schools with your children.....

    TAKE AMERICA BACK. THROW THE CROOKS OUT OF WASHINGTON.

    THIS IS JUST A MONEY GRAB BY THE EXTREME CROOKS IN GOVERMENT.

    September 16, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. BushChutiyalouda

    politics politics politics.... where is Mr. Wilson ??? We need leaders like you.

    September 16, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. Deuce

    Obama dishing out Iron. But he never: not ever put his life in danger. Cut this all this crap, like what happened the other day. "Oh lets set America on Alert,m just while barack Obama was talkiing. What a load of Crap. When ever Obama is under fire. They create some crap in the media. But the only time Obama would dare step out, is when it has all been setp-up to glorify the idiot­..

    September 16, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. ComradeObummer

    Hope you liberals are happy?

    Even wo the PUBLIC OPTION, the senate plan has 870+ Billion in costs.

    Already projecting 370+ billion in taxes and fees.

    DEMOCRATS = Higher Deficit, Taxes, and Spending.

    YOU LOSE.

    September 16, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. Jim

    I hope that all this stuff is just posturing and that everyone will sit down and pass a bill. If there is no non-profit insurance plan to compete with private insurance though, I don't see what will drive down costs.

    September 16, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. Mike

    Hi Wolf Blitzer. I watched your comparison of US and Canadian Health care Wed. night. The tricky US Senator defended his health care by saying that it is the same plan a Park Ranger or Post office worker has. Big difference Wolf ! The Park Ranger loses his health care when he leaves his job. The priviledged US Senator gets health care for life. Wonder why he does not care about the uninsured? Thats why!

    September 16, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  7. AstroTurf This

    President Obama campaigned on the importance of support for the Afghanistan war and how crucial it was that we win that war. It was a major pledge and promise of his campaign. He is now putting off "a decision" on recommendations for troop increases and strategies from his military generals to concentrate on his partisan determination to socialize medicine to please and placate the UNIONS. Apparently, the UNIONS are more important than winning against terrorism. POLITICS is more important. His party is more important than national security. Jimmy Carter made this mistake and we couldn't chase him out of Washington fast enough. Obama had better learn from that experience....when you compromise the country's security to play footsy with politics...Ronald Reagan is born. I wonder if the Shah was as important to Carter after he got kicked to the curb? I wonder if Obama is going to be as cozy with SEIU when he is?

    September 16, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    Thank you, President Obama! America needs you to stand strong and determined to pass healthcare reform and an equitable healthcare Bill.

    HOPE trumps Hate every time!

    September 16, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  9. Obama Victim II

    The American people are watching intensely.

    WE THE PEOPLE will not stand for a government takeover.

    WE will not subsidize ANY future insurance (Public Option) and WE will not accept Obama plunging this country FURTHER into debt!

    September 16, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. Steve

    Healthcare premiums increased over 130% in the last 10 ears while wages have gone up 38%. The rich get richer...........we obviously need reform NOW that includes a PUBLIC OPTION........anyone who thinks not is either A)Working for the Health Insurance Cos., B) Watching FOX News instead of getting the facts, C) Against it because they belong to the party of NO, D) Stupid, or E) B,C & D.

    September 16, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. m smith

    any health care bill sponsord by a democrat will be torn apart and rejected by the repos. Of course they don't believe in racisum either. It is getting to be pretty obvious what their adjenda is. They have unleashed every looney they can find to go up against this president. Now we are going to deny mentally handicap peope too?. They just flat out are a bunch of home grown terrorists. They are starting to sound like Hitler youth. We need health reform but it will not come with a republican blessing. So if they won't come to the table with any good ideas we should just leave them behind to spread their hate .

    September 16, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. Vijay

    The blue dog democrats are still howling out there somewhere. The long awaited Bacus proposal neither has the support of any Republicans nor could the president accept it, since it does not provide for a Public Option. In the meanwile the Waxman committee is still discussing their bill. The president is still campaigning for the support of the American people and meeting with senators on a selective basis. Things are going in too many directions ! Are the anti bill lobbyists really winning? Does the white house have actually a strategey and a plan to bring things under control and get a unified bill through the congress? Getting worried in Maui.

    September 16, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Sam SixPack

    This bill takes $500 billion away from your grandma's health care (Medicare) and gives it to fat, greedy insurance execs.

    They're pulling the plug on your Grandma! Is this the change you wanted?

    September 16, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Denna

    I believe that President Obama is wasting his time trying to work with the Republicans. After the Joe Wilson mess, I am convinced that these Repigs are just play around until the end of his term in 2016. THEY had 8 years to get this done and they never mentioned it. It seems that they would be eager to help Americans during this tough time. I think they should go ask their masters, Rush & Co. if it's okay to throw America a bone.

    September 16, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Deborah Black

    Max could not have written a worse bill if he let the Republicans write it alone, or the insurance companies. This bill is a disaster for middle America; hopefully now we will get one of the house bills with a public option.

    September 16, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. Steph

    We need health care reform NOW!!!

    September 16, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  17. GG23

    If I was Obama I would put aside all of the plans....I'd get together 5 moderate republicans and 5 moderate democrats and have them put together a scaled down healthcare reform package from scratch....lets take 6 months and get it right...lets stop rushing everything.

    September 16, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  18. obama the liar

    march on socialist...save America.

    September 16, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  19. Di

    To much talk a little more action! Fix all the other government programs SS, SSI, Medicare, Medcaid, CHIP, etc .......... and then all americans will have health care.

    September 16, 2009 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  20. Sam SixPack

    500 billion Medicare dollars that, otherwise, would have bypassed private insurance companies (and gone to fat, greedy pharmaceutical execs) is about to be diverted to fat, greedy insurance execs. Another $350 billion or so are about to come out of your tax dollars and go straight to fat, greedy insurance execs.

    Furthermore, millions of Americans are going to be required, by this new law, to give their hard-earned money to – you guessed it – fat, greedy insurance execs.

    Once the $500 billion is stolen from Medicare there will be no choice but to pull the plug on your grandma (unless, of course, you're a fat, greedy insurance exec).

    You are being scammed – again.

    September 16, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  21. stan

    the gop knows the whitehouse do not want to talk about race because they knows its the weak point of the democrats,but the whitehouse have got to start attacking the gop weak point in that is illegal immigration,like i said before,the gop do not want to talk about it,because the gop knows if the democrats gets 80% or more of the latino in asain vote the republican party will be absolete,the moderate republicans knows this,but the far right just dont care,so the democrats have got to start attacking back.msnbc finally talked about this on the rachel maddow show tonighti was so happy to see this,in now the democrats must keep talking about this everynight 24hrs,in you just watch how the gop start caving in,the whitehouse wont have any trouble passing this healthcare bill,but the democrats have got to do this,use the illegal immigration issue to scare the hell out of the gop,believe me its going to work,but the democrats have got to keep talking about it,

    September 16, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. No Public Option=Blackwater Reform Inc.

    This one time in Congress Camp

    Everybody was talking about reform like it was real!

    They even had a Public option for Health Care that would make it real....

    but then everyone got scared by all the spiders,

    (Voiceover)
    This attempt to create the appearance of an attempt at reform is brought to you by those that make megatons of profit off fearful, frightened and ignorant

    Down with transparency!....Darkness rules!.

    September 16, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  23. Sam SixPack

    Unless they can pass a bill that nationalizes all health insurance and all pharmaceuticals, you will pay more and get less.

    By the way, how are you going to pay for your children's health care when you will already giving all you can afford to fat, greedy insurance execs for a policy with a sky-high deductible?

    September 16, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  24. CL

    Sen. Baucus should lose his commititee chair. The Democrats have to stop putting small state senators in charge to fix big America big problems. You can buy these clowns like a cheap suit. So, this is to the DNC I won't donate until you pluge that bucket with a hole Baucus.

    September 16, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Sam SixPack

    So, if I can only find a minimum wage job, I'll have to give all Nancy Pelosi decides I can "afford" to some fat, greedy insurance exec, but if I just quit working (or sell illegal drugs), I will get FREE health care. SWEET!

    Oh, wait, will I be required by law to take the minimum wage job?

    What a scam.

    September 16, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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