Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders criticized the use of slurs against Democratic congressmen by protesters on Capitol Hill Saturday, but they called them isolated incidents that shouldn't overshadow the debate over health care.
Three Democratic African-American lawmakers - including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Georgia - said demonstrators against the health care bill yelled racist epithets at them as they walked past. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said a protester spit at him. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, an openly gay Democrat, said protesters yelled anti-gay comments at him.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the incidents "reprehensible" but said on NBC's Meet the Press "let's not let a few isolated incidents get in the way of the fact that millions of Americans are scared to
death, and millions of Americans want no part of this growing size of government."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, appearing on NBC, said, "I think the tone of the this entire debate has been denigrated, has been brought down, frankly, by the rhetoric on government takeover, socialism, things that are not accurate."
"Nobody condones that at all," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R- Virginia. on ABC's "This Week." "There were 30,000 people here in Washington yesterday. And, yes, there were some very awful things said."
Cantor appeared with House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson, D-Connecticut, who said the incidents show "everybody ought to ratchet back just a little bit."
Asked about Larson's comment, Cantor said "you know what it is time for? It's time to listen to the American people, and that is the stunning thing about this."
On CNN's "State of the Union," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, called the slurs "contemptible," saying, "I denounce it in the strongest terms."
Washington (CNN) – A prominent Democratic senator predicted Sunday that her party will succeed in passing a reconciliation bill that puts the finishing touches on President Obama’s plan for health care reform. But, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, also said the legislation isn’t “perfect” and that the reform package will likely be altered at a later date to work out any issues that may arise.
“I believe, at the end, more than 51 Democrats will hold firm and will pass the reconciliation bill and we will have health care reform,” Feinstein said on CNN’s State of the Union.
But Feinstein also said, “This isn’t the perfect bill. We all know that. We all know that there are going to have to be fixes down the road just as every major [federal] program has had – Medicare has had, Social Security will likely have because of the explosion of costs.” In defense of the controversial and unpopular Democratic package, Feinstein pointed out that the United States spends more on health care than its European counterparts without achieving better outcomes. “We spend a lot of money but we don’t necessarily spend it in the right way or in the right places.”
And Feinstein continued with a prediction if her party is not successful in passing the legislation after the past year of wrangling on Capitol Hill.
He also said the deal will give Democratic leaders more than enough votes to pass the bill.
"We're well past" the 216 votes needed for passage, Stupak said. "This bill is going to go through."
President Barack Obama will issue an executive order "after the passage of the health insurance reform law that will reaffirm its consistency with long-standing restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a written statement.
"While the legislation as written maintains current law, the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."
Related: Read the entire order
The White House announced Sunday that President Obama intends to sign an executive order regarding abortion funding that "provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced." (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - The White House announced Sunday that President Obama will issue an executive order regarding federal funding for abortion after the anticipated passage of health care reform legislation in the House.
"While the legislation as written maintains current law," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement, "the executive order provides additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation’s restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."
(Read the text of the executive order after the jump)
Washington (CNN) – A prominent House Republican said Sunday that his caucus will do whatever it can to try to stop passage of a Democratic health care reform plan.
“Well, I don’t know if they have the votes,” Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, said on State of the Union, just minutes after Rep. John Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Democrats had lined up the 216 votes necessary to pass the legislation. “House Republicans are going to use every means at our disposal,” Pence said.
Related video: Larson, Pence on health reform
When asked by CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley exactly what House Republicans intended to do, Pence was coy. “Well, stay tuned, Candy. It’s going to be an interesting day.”
The House is set to take up the final Democratic package on Sunday afternoon.
The Indiana Republican also suggested Sunday that Democrats could pay a price at the polls in this year’s midterm elections if they succeed in passing health care reform.
“I don’t know if they [Democrats] have the votes today,” Pence told Crowley as he looked at Larson, “but I guarantee you the American people know they have the votes in November.”
Supporters of overhauling the country's immigration laws rallied in Washington Sunday. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Tens of thousands of people turned out on Washington's National Mall on Sunday to support the Obama administration in its next big battle, a renewed effort to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.
Speaking by video to the crowd, President Barack Obama said he would do "everything in my power" to get a bipartisan deal within the year.
"You know as well as I do that this won't be easy, and it won't happen overnight," Obama said. "But if we work together across ethnic, state and party lines, we can build a future worthy of our history as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."
Obama's appearance was followed by comments from Gustavo Torres, executive director of the Baltimore-based immigrant advocacy group CASA de Maryland. Torres told the crowd, "Mr. President, we are going to hold you accountable."
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - The House is poised to vote on a proposal Sunday that would make Washington the one-stop-shop for cheap student loans and boost funding for need-based scholarships.
While taking up the health care overhaul, the House will also consider another of President Obama's top priorities: cutting out bank middlemen who collect subsidies to make education loans guaranteed by the federal government.
The proposal has been included in the so-called reconciliation bill before the House. If it passes, it is expected to be taken up by the Senate in coming days.
Full story on CNNMoney.com
Washington (CNN) - In the final hours before a health care vote Sunday, a key Democratic holdout told CNN he was close to a deal with the White House that could help win passage of the legislation.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, part of a group of Democrats who oppose abortion, was nearing an agreement on language in an executive order that would address the issue.
"I'm still a no," he told CNN early Sunday afternoon. "There is no deal yet. It's a work in progress. Maybe we'll get there today."
He said he had met with White House lawyers Sunday.
When asked how close he was to a deal, Stupak responded, "Close."
Stupak told CNN that eight House Democrats met with White House officials including counsel Bob Bauer on Saturday night, but the two sides did not reach an agreement.