Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that "it's clear" Congress is "on the precipice" of passing a sweeping health care reform bill.
"There are some differences that still have to be worked on," he said at the White House. But "there is broad consensus around reforms."
The president said Congress "simply cannot let differences" over specific elements of the plan prevent passage of a bill. "There's too much at stake," he warned.
"Any fair reading of this bill" meets the administration's criteria of lowering costs and expanding coverage while not adding to the federal deficit, he claimed.
"I'm feeling cautiously optimistic we can get this done," he said.
Obama made his remarks shortly after meeting with Senate Democrats.
Washington (CNN) - The Washington, D.C., city council voted Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage in the nation's capital. The bill will now be given to Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has expressed his support and vowed to sign the bill.
If the mayor signs it, Congress will have a period of 30 days to intervene before it would take effect.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said Tuesday he is prepared to back a comprehensive health care reform bill if it excludes both a public health insurance option and a provision allowing 55- to 64-year-olds to buy into Medicare.
If the public option "is out and the Medicare buy-in - which I thought would jeopardize Medicare, cost taxpayers billions of dollars over the long haul (and) increase our deficit - is out ... then I'm going to be in a position where I can say ... that I'm ready to vote for health care reform," Lieberman told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, has emerged as the majority party's main obstacle to its efforts to get a health care bill through the Senate before Christmas. He threatened over the weekend to join a GOP filibuster if the legislation contains either the public option or the Medicare expansion.
If Republicans remain united in their opposition to health care legislation, Senate Democrats will need the backing of all 60 members of their
caucus to end debate in the chamber and move to a final vote.
Final passage of the bill would then require only a simple majority of 51 votes.
Washington (CNN) – Congressional Democrats are looking to harness public rage over executive pay, launching a new radio ad campaign that hits Republicans for voting against measures that would limit some corporate bonuses.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday it will start airing the 60-second spot in the California congressional districts represented by Dan Lungren and Mary Bono Mack, along with districts represented by Lee Terry of Nebraska, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania and lightning rod Joe Wilson of South Carolina.
Full script of "Remember", as released by the DCCC:
Washington (CNN) - The nation's capital city is expected to take a major step Tuesday towards legalizing same-sex marriage.
The District of Columbia's city council is scheduled to vote - and expected to pass - a measure that would recognize gay marriages as legal. The city council overwhelmingly passed the bill in a previous vote on December 1.
Tuesday's second vote is needed to send the measure to District Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has said he will sign the bill. Then the measure goes to Congress for a 30-day review period, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill will block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District's city council.
If the measure becomes law, the District would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in allowing legal same-sex marriages. A law legalizing gay marriage in New Hampshire takes effect on January 1.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in Maine approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriages, but voters in the state last month passed a referendum to overturn the new law. Last week, New York's state senate defeated a bill that would legalize gay marriages. A similar bill stalled last week in New Jersey's state senate.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story
(CNN) – Two new surveys suggest that David Paterson's poll numbers are inching up - but that the New York governor still trails state attorney general Andrew Cuomo by a wide margin in a hypothetical Democratic primary race.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, 40 percent of New York's registered voters approve of the job Paterson's doing as governor. That's up 10 points from a Quinnipiac survey in October. The poll indicates that Paterson's disapproval rating has dropped 8 points, from 57 percent in October to 49 percent now.
A Siena College Research Institute survey released Monday suggested a similar trend, with Paterson's favorable rating at 37 percent, up 9 points from earlier this year.
But both polls indicate voters believe Paterson does not deserve election next year to a full four-year term as governor. Fifty-nine percent of people questioned in the Quinnipiac survey say Paterson doesn't deserve to be elected in 2010, a modest improvement from October, when more than two of out three voters felt the governor didn't deserve a full term. The Siena poll also indicates an improvement for Paterson, but less than one in five think he should be elected next year, with nearly two-thirds preferring someone else.
Washington (CNN) – A limited number of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison will be transferred to a prison in Illinois, President Obama will announce Tuesday, a senior administration official said.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Richard Durbin will go to the White House on Tuesday for a briefing on the plan to use Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois, to help shut down the controversial facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Illinois state officials have said the plan would call for housing federal prisoners, including some detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in the largely vacant maximum-security facility in northern Illinois.
The governor and other officials have said such a deal could provide up to 2,000 jobs and up to $1 billion in federal money to the area.