September 2nd, 2009
04:41 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama to address joint session of Congress next week

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will address the contentious issue of health-care reform in a speech before a joint session of Congress on September 9, multiple Democratic sources told CNN Wednesday.

"The president is considering ... laying out a more specific vision" of health-care reform, said one administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

So far, Obama has outlined broad principles for what he would like in health-care reform, but he has left most details to leaders in Congress. Now, White House aides say, the dynamic has changed.

"We're entering a new season," senior adviser David Axelrod said. "It's time to synthesize and harmonize these strands and get this done."

The new phase is being "driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP, including Senators Grassley and Enzi," the administration official noted.

The official added that the White House believes those actions indicate the two key Republicans - Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming, who have been part of a bipartisan group negotiating a health-care bill - "are essentially walking away from the table."

The official said that "now is the time to begin to pull together the various strands and solutions from the four bills that have been marked up and other proposals. ... Basically all the cards are on the table."

As momentum for health-care reform has slowed, Obama has come under growing pressure from liberal activists and leading congressional Democrats to provide more specifics.

"I think the president needs to step forward," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Tuesday. "Be more specific, more aggressively fight for a strong health-reform bill with a strong public option. I think he's going to do that."

Obama will host House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the White House next Tuesday afternoon to discuss the speech, two officials added.

The president called Reid on Wednesday morning to inform him about the speech, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

–CNN's Ted Barrett, Dana Bash, Ed Henry, Gloria Borger, Brianna Keilar, and Elaine Quijano contributed to this report

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (181 Responses)
  1. annie against biased news

    obama and the demon-crats and 2/3 of the repubbies just don't get it. WE THE PEOPLE do NOT want this much of this type of government in our lives!!! They are bankrupting our country, they are replacing our senators and representatives with unapproved radical czars that no one has any control over and this administration is totally ignoring the response of the people. Well, he is not totally ignoring it, he is trying to eliminate free speech!

    September 2, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  2. Willy Brown

    WHy must I pay for someone else's band-aids? Buy your own you liberal bums!

    September 2, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. AJ

    More rhetoric from the king of babble. Obama need to stop dinking around and really lead the party. So far real leadership has eluded him.

    September 2, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Matt

    I hope he resigns as the idiot disgrace he is.

    September 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. aliousalam

    Insurance co.s ration your care everyday. They refuse you care too. and the premium you pay? goes to pay ceos, push papers and the shareholders, be they in a cave laying next to bin laden, taking orders for your insurance co shares for wallstreet.

    September 2, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. aliousalam

    What part of I voted for single payer healthcare reform didn't the republicans townhall shouters understand? What part didn't the the loosers on the right understand?
    My vote count and so does the vote of the 53% americans who voted for single payer reform.

    Stay away from my vote. You lost, you've got to wait your turn. Single payer public option reform, that is change I can believe in.

    September 2, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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