January 31st, 2010
11:19 AM ET
5 years ago

Health care reform bill 'inside the 5-yard line,' Gibbs says

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs discussed the administration's push for health care reform Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs discussed the administration's push for health care reform Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

Washington (CNN) – White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that Democrats are within striking distance of passing a health care reform bill notwithstanding Democrats’ loss of their filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate.

“We’re still inside the five-yard line,” Gibbs said Sunday on State of the Union when asked to assess Democrats’ progress on health care reform, the domestic agenda item that was President Obama’s top priority last year along with getting the struggling economy back on track.

Gibbs was reacting to an earlier assessment on the same subject provided by another top Obama aide before Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, pulled off an upset win earlier this month in a special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.

“We’re way deep in the red zone,” White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King late last year on State of the Union. “We’re right on the one-yard line,” Axelrod added.

Despite the setback in Massachusetts, Gibbs said Sunday that a bill could still be passed.

“We’re one vote in the House of Representatives from making health care reform a reality,” the White House press secretary said, positing a scenario where the House passed the version of the bill already passed by the Senate which President Obama would then sign into law.

Gibbs suggested Sunday that Brown’s upset win was a message from voters in a historically Democratic state that they wanted more bipartisanship in Washington.

“I think, once again, the American people are far ahead of where Washington is,” Gibbs told King. “I think we can get something done for the American people if we sit down and listen to each other, if we share ideas and we work together on the priorities of the American people.”

Gibbs was noncommittal when asked by King whether the president preferred having the House pass the single large bill already passed by the Senate or he was considering several smaller bills on issues where there might be bipartisan agreement.

“I don’t think we know yet the answer on the process of this,” said Gibbs.


Filed under: Congress • Health care • Robert Gibbs • State of the Union
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Ken

    I am pleased to see the Democrats continue to push their far left liberal agenda. Their actions against the will of the American people will assure "hope and change" in November.

    January 31, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Dammit! Get it done. Health reform has first down on the one yard line. Congress needs to pass the senate version, and then create three amendments that the senate can pass with 50 votes and VP Biden breaking the tie.

    January 31, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If dems pass health reform, and the alleged republican resurgence in 2010 elections will be over. While the repubs are counting taking over both houses so they can further hurt Americans and help big businesses, they have nothing to run on except telling people to be afraid.

    January 31, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    It is time to move away from the loony right, and do what is best for Americans.

    January 31, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Obama = corruption (with a nice voice)

    What a bunch of crooks. Obama and Pelosi want to pass a bill that most people don't want. There are better bills, but Obama, hypocritically, doesn't want to see any other bills that can fix the problem.

    If this bill passes, then the democrats can only hope that the corrupt system that they are trying to put in place (increased government employment and thus, the voting block) works.

    January 31, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    While the right wingnuts are looking to November, they really need to look at their message, and realize there is little there. It looks like the arrogant right should follow my grandpa's advise, and not flush the toilet until the train leaves the station.

    January 31, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Obama = corruption (with a nice voice)

    Obama and Pelosi want to pass a bill that most people don't want. There are better bills, but Obama, hypocritically, doesn't want to see any other bills that can fix the problem. What a bunch of crooks.

    If this bill passes, then the democrats can only hope that the corrupt system that they are trying to put in place (increased government employment and thus, the voting block) works.

    January 31, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. sensible Cape coral FL

    Why hasn't it occurred ti anyone that passing the Health Care Bill will create more jobs at the same time? I know – I know – it has the disadvantage of being sensible!

    January 31, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Baghdad Bob" Gibbs speaks!

    And the whole world laughs.

    January 31, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Mr.EZ

    Oh great. Football analogies. This is NOT a game. People are dying. Do your jobs and finalize the bill. Get healthcare for those that need it.

    January 31, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. JMikey54

    They better pass the Senate bill the senate will filibuster anything else.

    January 31, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. GGofigure

    Go for it...most of these guys who are against it are just limbaugh listeners and his likes. They don't know to tell difference between true and propanganda. People will like it after the fact.

    January 31, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Sniffit

    shouldnt you racist republicans be in church? after all you talk as if you're there 24/7

    January 31, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    If we put everything in the hands of libertarians, each state would have its own currency, no post offices, no interstate highways, no minimum wages, no airport security, no federal assisted public education, no federal help for police and firemen, no EPA, no assistance to American families suffering from natural disasters, no national parks, and no national government. What else did I miss?

    January 31, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Mrs. S Callahan

    Why would one hold a confrence with your opponent in the name of finding common ground.....and then say you're going ahead with the Health Care Bill.. hypocrisy to the fullest.

    Truely, it's best to pass one step at a time..not all at once. Wrath be on the Government otherwise.

    January 31, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Hammerer

    If Obamacare is not a "Bolshevik plot" what is it?

    January 31, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. bennie new york

    Yeah, it's in the five-yard line alright- they fumbled it on the 1 like Ernest Bynor(sorry Cleveland.) Obama and the Democrats botched this from the start. If the Dems had used their leverage and started with single payer to bring Republicans to the bargaining table, we would've had a bill with a public option signed into law in back in October.

    January 31, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Carol

    Get it done, please! I'm happy that the Democrats are still pushing for what is right for America, before more lose their insurance or lose their lives.

    January 31, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. Ethan

    Pass the bill. The vast majority of people FAVOR WHAT'S IN THE BILL. It is obvious now to ALL that the Republicans muddied the waters with their obvious "death panel" lies, for partisan political reasons. Okay, well, now that we ALL know that the Death Panel idea is just another Republican Lie, we should move this bill forward to help the STRUGGLING MIDDLE CLASS. This bill WILL HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS, and everyone IN IT or ASPIRING to be in it. The same Middle Class that would see SIGNIFICANT subsidies on their health insurance premiums if we pass the bill. The Middle Class that would finally finally have total health insurance SECURITY if they move or get fired. The Middle Class small bizs that would have tax breaks and subsidies to help them give their employees health insurance instead of saying, 'tough luck buy it yourself.' We need to get this country moving again and one of the most important ways is to IMPROVE the ECONOMY and the other is FIX THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. Well fixing the health care system actually DOES DO BOTH, while stimulating jobs in health technology, health IT, doctors and nurses. It's a no-brainer. You literally have to be AGAINST helping YOURSELF and your FAMILY to be against this health care reform bill.

    January 31, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Nugent for president

    DON"T PASS IT!!! I pay for my own healthcare...granted too much, but that is my choice. If you don't have coverage, I hear that your local McDonalds is hiring....just get a job people and stop looking for free government handouts. Face it, we are a capitolistic society. Make something of yourself or shut up....and just put away the stupid race card, it's really getting old.

    January 31, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. howie

    I simply can not believe that with all that has been said and done the democrats still want to push this sorry piece of legislation. Do they not understand that America does NOT WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 31, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Sue

    If the Democrats shove this health care plan down the throats of the American people--when the MAJORITY have said time and time again that they do NOT want it--–the elections in November, 2010 will make history-–as never in the history of our elections/country will we see as many Democrats sent to the unemployment lines.

    January 31, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Arine Ward

    This isn't about Race...this is plain and simple! Where is a new bill...offering the same or better for all people at a reasonable rate...and how does the College Student working flipping burgers get covered...when they are tragically hit by a car walking to work??? Get off the box, and pass a bill that works for ALL people, no matter their Race, Religion, or Gender....and stop all this foolish acceptance of money for the deaths of Americans!

    January 31, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Bren

    Look at all of the national polls--the MAJORITY in our country do NOT want this health care bill.

    However, Obama and the Democrats do not care what the majority of the people want/don't want--they are going to shove it down your throats anyways.

    Only 10 more months--and the power/control will be taken away from Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the rest of the liberal, Democratic politicians in Washington.

    January 31, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Mike1952

    Baghdad......er,.....DC Bob says it so it must be true. Ha!, what a loser.

    They don't have the dimocrat votes to pass either version and the Senate is no longer a majority dims anyway. Kill this thing and pursue insurance reform which is all that's really needed anyway. Of course the dims could go the nuclear option and lose their majority in the House too. Then the conservatives could undo the harm done by the nuclearists.

    January 31, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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