Washington (CNN) - President Obama worked behind closed doors to win support among key House Democrats for his health care reform plan Thursday, one day after urging Congress to hold a final up or down vote on the measure.
The administration also ratcheted up its campaign against private health insurance companies, summoning a group of CEOs to the White House and asking them to justify recent rate increases.
Senior Democrats, meanwhile, continued to give optimistic predictions about the fate of the president's top domestic priority. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress is "on the brink of making very important history."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he thinks the House of Representatives is on schedule to pass the Senate health care bill before Obama leaves for an overseas trip March 18.
Washington (CNN) - A trio of congressional Republicans passionately appealed to the Pentagon on Thursday to drop charges against three Navy SEALs accused of assaulting an Iraqi suspected of orchestrating the 2004 killing and mutilation of four U.S. contractors.
Flanked by about a dozen retired Navy SEALs at a news conference near the Capitol, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California; Rep. Dan Burton, R-Indiana; and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, insisted that the U.S. is sending the wrong message to its troops.
"These Navy SEALs were apprehending a terrorist murderer, and they are being accused of roughing him up? Give me a break! These men should be given medals, not prosecuted. These men are heroes," Rohrabacher said.
Burton agreed, saying, "These people are laying their lives on the line every day, and they can't go into a combat situation with kid gloves on."
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CNN: What's next for health care reform?
President Obama has made it clear that it's time for a simple up and down vote on his health care plan, noting that Americans are "waiting for us to act." But getting to the vote might not be so simple. Two Democratic aides said the goal is for the House to vote on the Senate health care bill and a vote on reconciliation instructions before Obama leaves on March 18 for his trip to Australia and Indonesia.
CNN: Stupak prepared to vote no on health care
Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak says he will bring down the final health care bill if abortion language isn't modified.
CNNMoney: Job creation bill heads back to Senate
Lawmakers' efforts to spur job creation were delayed once again Thursday after the House amended a $15 billion Senate bill before passing it. The amendments mean the Senate must again approve the four-prong measure, this time with no changes, if President Obama is to sign it into law. The Senate may not take up the legislation until next week.
Wall Street Journal: Democrats Revolt Over Energy
President Barack Obama's energy strategy came under attack on at least three fronts Thursday, highlighting the conflict that has hobbled one of the administration's top domestic priorities. On Thursday, big utility operators and some state officials blasted the administration's formal announcement that it would drop plans for a federal nuclear-waste vault beneath Yucca Mountain, Nev., and instead consider what it believes are better options. On Capitol Hill, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to block the administration from using the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers urged the administration not to use federal stimulus dollars to help finance a wind-energy project that involves a Chinese maker of wind turbines.
Washington Post: Obama advisers set to recommend military tribunals for alleged 9/11 plotters
President Obama's advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.
Christian Science Monitor: Sander Levin, chair of Ways and Means, forms powerful brother duo
Sander Levin is now part of one of the most powerful brother acts in Washington since the Kennedys. He was named the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday. His brother, Carl, is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
New York Daily News: Harlem pols such as Wright, Perkins and O'Donnell float names as potential successors to Rangel
Harlem's skies were filled with trial balloons Wednesday as a bevy of politicians floated their names as potential successors to Rep. Charles Rangel.Not that Rangel was gone. Though he gave up his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee amid a deepening ethics probe, Rangel has so far refused to say whether he plans to bow out of seeking reelection this fall.