July 24th, 2009
04:50 PM ET
12 years ago

Emanuel: 'We are not sitting back like the Maytag man'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/24/art.emanuel0724.gi.jpg caption="Rahm Emanuel met with journalists Friday to discuss health care."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a session with journalists today, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel sounded more optimistic about health care reform than many of his fellow Democrats. In fact, he made a point of telling reporters that secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke with the president today, said "I wish I was this close in '94," when she unsuccessfully attempted to shepherd her bill through Congress.

That said, Emanuel clearly understands the hurdles that lie ahead-particularly with members of his own party. Yet he insisted that the committees working on legislation in the House and the Senate are not as far apart on major matters as has been portrayed. Moreover, he added the status quo is unacceptable. Any measure, he said, must be deficit-neutral, bend the health care cost curve downward, and include one of the president's favorite plans, 'MedPac', which would empower an independent executive agency to curb health care costs.

When asked whether the president needs to outline a specific plan on health care, Emanuel made it clear the president is involved, and has no intention of doing so. "We made a choice...(to offer) broad oputlines and let the legislative process work," he said. "...(When you start with a bill) every change becomes a defeat. I've done that story line." But, he added, "don't think we are waiting...we are not sitting back like the Maytag man."

He went out of his way to compliment members for "working through a tough issue. "There's lots of members, lots of sausage making," he said-and went out of his way to compliment three GOP senators - Mike Enzi, Olympia Snowe and Charles Grassley - who are working to get a bill out of the Senate Finance Committee. "I have a great deal of admiration for their courage... in the face of a tremendous amt of political pressure they are acting …with a ...sense of public responsibility," he said.

He was less complimentary, to say the least, of those Republicans who are opposing any democratic-driven measure. "The prescription drug bill was 900 billion, and paid for on a credit card. You might not like the 'pay-fors,' but they're there....the party that is sitting there compaining about the deficit has nothing but a pool of blood (red ink) around them."

Not surprisingly, Emanuel predicted this Congress can get something done. He did allow that the peril of having the health care debate hang around over the August recess is that "the interest groups (could) come out and change course." But he reminded reporters that "the insurance companies have made a calculation that reform is better than not...they're seen as the biggest burden in the system as it exists."

In other words: jump ship at your own peril.

Filed under: Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Stop the Robber Baron Insurance Companies and The Republicans they Bribe

    I am sick and tired of insurance company pencil-pushing, high school-educated, profit-pig bureaucrats standing in the way of me and my doctor.

    Call your member of congress and demand the public option.

    July 24, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. S Callahan

    there are HORNS in this story......

    July 24, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Fla.

    Stay positive & focused, and let's get this much-needed healthcare reform passed for the American people. Godspeed.

    July 24, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. ib

    Emanuel fits right in with Waxman & Peloski–we are going to ram this down your throat whether you want it or not. We don't care what is right as long as we get our way and you bow down to us.

    July 24, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    News Flash- Some idiot Republican group is demanding an immediate apology to all the Maytag repairmen in the country.

    Senator Hesa Windbaog of South Carolina demanded an aplogy to those hard working Joe Six-packs who service our washers and dryers.

    July 24, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. Zero.

    Maytag? I also was a Technician not many years ago.

    Your only as good as the customer you support. Maybe better explanations of the problem are required. Going out on a service-call with the wrong info, is just more addition to you bill.
    They do not work for you alone. Neither Does Barack Obama

    July 24, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Zero.

    So? Barack Obama? I still await your appology to that Police Service.
    Not to dictate your opinion because you think your too big.

    The words "I Am Sorry" is all that is required...

    July 24, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    He is where he is because just like our Lawyer-In-Chief he knows how to speak politician. " Bend The Health Cost Curve Downward" means exactly nothing and promises nothing.

    This plan absolutely raises the cost of health care! Nothing Obama said about lowering the cost made any sense at all. Pure rhetoric.

    By the time we get to decide whether the curve bends down or up...it is already a done deal! And he knows that. Now try and undo it. That will be an even tougher struggle.

    July 24, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Michigan mom

    It is obvious that we need health care reform. What is also obvious is that Congress is clueless about how to fix it so that everyone is covered, costs are lowered, and quality maintained. It can be done, although I do believe that Republicans and even some Dems are hoping whatever is enacted is a complete failure so they can wag their fingers and say "told you so." Barney Frank said this week that is all the waste in the bloated Defense budget is removed, that in itself would pay for health care! Do it!

    July 24, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. Monk

    It is not the interest groups he needs to worry about, it's the everday American learning the truth about the so called health care reform the goons are trying rahm down everyone's throats. Power grab is all this is, get as many people as possible dependant on you, then you are assured of their votes next go round.

    July 24, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. Reformed Republican

    At least there are one or two dems in DC that aren't wimps and can stand up and win over those obstructionist rethugs and weak-knee "blue dogs".

    Hey Rohm – Dump that ole geezer Reed and get somebody with a set to keep the senate majority in line. That majority of spineless dems in the senate are letting the blow-hard rethugs trample all over them and middle America in the process!

    July 24, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Excellent realistic comments! It will get done once and for all!

    July 24, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Grrr-awful-o

    However this turns out it will be a Democratic production. Huge majorities in both houses of Congress and a Dem president will not allow for any finger pointing at George Bush for what's looking like a major fiasco of a healthcare mandate.

    July 24, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. tonyt

    "The GOP are sitting back like the Maytag man."

    July 24, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Scott L

    Americans are calling their congressmen and congresswomen all across this country demanding that this liberal pork bill that will provide free health insurance at the tax payer's expense does NOT go through.

    As soon as you start dipping into the pockets of hard working Americans to take care of the slackers, that's when people say Whoa wait a minute!

    July 24, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  16. Gerry

    We know that they are not sitting back like the Maytag man because the Maytag man stayed in his office and was able to make things work.

    July 24, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Chris

    Convince me that I won't be paying for people who will not work, convince me that this system will save me money, then I'll support a healthcare reform and not another welfare agenda.

    July 24, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. aware

    Keep saying "NO" America! Obama isn't telling you the truth! 🙁

    July 24, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  19. Patricia

    Rep. Waxman D-Calif. said that negotiations with Democratic critics are continuing, we're not going to let them empower the Republicans to control the committee. Looks like this is about power and money for the Democrates, not a good health plan for the American people.

    July 24, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Asian4Hillary

    I know Rahm, you can't wait to put senior citizens of this country to death. It must make you feel like a hero to illegal immigrants in Chicago they'll get socialize medicine under Obama plan without paying a penny, like you and other staff and members of congress exempted from socialize medicine you're all shoving down our throat.

    July 24, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Ted Tartaglia

    The do nothing Party offers nothing to the debate so why does anyone listen to them or care what they say. Even Rush doesn't listen to them.

    July 24, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Shawn - GA

    Why are we not seeing reports on what was going on in Congress last night, specifically:

    The majority leadership is censoring the minority from sharing with their constitutes a flow chart that shows the amount of red tape that the new health care plan will cause fro the patients. I wanted facts before I made a decision one way or another on this whole health care issue. I along with pretty much everyone believe it is broken and needs to be fixed. However this plan is not the right one, I have enough information now to make that decision.

    It is a scary thing when they want to actually keep information from us the people like this, I don't care who the President is, Red or Blue or Independent. Pelosie needs to reverse this censoring NOW.

    July 24, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. Jon Krieger

    "No,were acting more like The Noid!" Gimme a break! They are ignoring the will of the people,by continuing to push this travesty!

    July 24, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. stormerF

    If Rahm Emanuel wants to pass health care you can bet its going to cost you money.Obama says no,Pelosi says no Reid says no,but the congressional budget office says it will cost jobs,raise the deficit,and harm the Economy.,,,So why are they not listening? what are the Democrats hiding?

    July 24, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. annie for Palin

    He's more optimistic because he doesn't get voted on! Both parties better veto this bill and get something that reforms the bad parts not put us all under a government rationed hellth care! Let's let ole dead fish and all of his family go on this plan. If it works for them and the rest of the criminal politicians in dc maybe the rest of us 'might' be interested in it. Could pewlosi get her botox on the government rationed hellth care plan?

    July 24, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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