February 25th, 2010
12:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Democrats' new health target: End of March

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/25/art.obama1.gi.jpg caption="Democrats hope to pass final health care legislation by the end of March, three top Democratic sources tell CNN."]
Washington (CNN) - As President Obama kicks off a health care summit to try and rescue his reform package, three top Democratic sources are privately telling CNN the new goal is to pass the final legislation by the end of March or else Congress will have to move back to other issues like job creation and unfinished spending bills.

The new deadline adds more pressure to the White House negotiations because it gives the president only one month after Thursday's summit to get a final package completed or else he will risk seeing his signature domestic issue go down in flames.

Three Democratic sources familiar with the negotiations say that after a series of missed deadlines last year, the new target is to get a final package completed by Friday March 26, when the House and Senate are scheduled to begin a recess to celebrate Passover and Easter. The House is not scheduled to return from that recess for floor votes again until Tuesday April 13, just seven months before the midterm elections.

The Democratic sources said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, have privately signaled to the White House that after that recess they will have to move the focus back to jobs and a whole series of other important issues - such as climate change legislation, a financial reform package, and unfinished appropriations bills.

So Democratic leaders have warned the White House that if the health legislation is not finished before the spring recess, it is hard to craft a scenario in which Congress can return to the bill later in the year.

"They would have to move on - they can't let this drag out," said one Democratic source familiar with the negotiations who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the sensitive deliberations.

Filed under: Democrats • Health care • President Obama
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Mike in MN

    The only health care bill that can be completed by the end of March is to move forward with the current bills.
    That approach will not happen with any Republican votes. And from what I am hearing while watching the summit is that the Republican approach is what the voters want. The Republican approach gives voters what they want with less government cost, regulation and mandates. And the Republicans approach wants to move forward move piece meal instead of the massive single bill approach of Obamacare. I believe all of this is what a majority of voters, who have rejected Obamacare, want.
    So if Obama will not start over and wants a bill done by the end of March without any Republican support. I also believe voters will remain opposed to Obamacare, I don't think the summit will move the position of the majority based on what I have seen so far. The polls over the next weeks and months will tell if that is so or not.

    February 25, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. BILL, WI

    Take the time and get it right. Why does this have to be a form of ramrod legislation. It must be mostly for political show and get out the vote drama. Open up the debate so all can view the process and actually follow what is happening, rather than a constant dribble of propaganda from both parties.

    February 25, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. donttreadonme

    Maybe the dems target should be "get the bill right" instead of putting up meaningless deadlines for political purpose.

    No discussion=No compromise, Proud member of the Party of “NO”

    February 25, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    So they have decided to cram it down our throats before the end of March. Hopefully, there will be no short memories before the elections in November and the Republican takeover of Congress. Still have not received an explanation of any libertards of how it will not cost any more in taxes when we pay for 6 years worth of Obozocare "benefits" with 10 years of taxes. Apparently basic math is not a requirement to get a community organizer degree.

    February 25, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Mike in MN

    Pelosi says there is no time to start over.
    If Pelosi, Obama and Reid had listened to the will of the people 8 months ago and started over then, we might be seeing Obama sign a true bipartisan bill into law today. One actually supported by a majority of voters.
    But the entranced position of Obama, Pelosi and Reid leaves two choices. Neither supported by a majority of voters.
    One, cram the current Obamacare down the throats of unwilling voters without any Republican votes.
    Or two, do nothing.

    February 25, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. A.B.

    The Democrats have one more chance to pass healthcare reform legislation. Failure to do so is not an option. I say to President Obama and the Democrats:
    Put aside Bipartisanship and use Reconciliation to pass this bill !!
    Restore the Public Option in H.R. 3200 and expand Medicare !!
    Rally the American people in support of this legislation by making the case for healthcare reform and control of runaway medical costs!!
    Do not scrap H.R. 3200 and start over again. You do not have time or resources for that!! Build on what you already have!!

    February 25, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Dean

    Obama when are you going to wake up? The American people do not want your brand of health care reform. We want lower costs thru reduction of insurance and medicare/medicaid fraud, tort reform, and other cost controlling measures. Why do drug manufacturers need soem many drug reps? I worked at a medical facility with 80 employees. At least twice a month drug reps would buy lunch for the entire staff and supply us with samples to give out. In 2000, pharmaceutical companies spent more than 15.7 billion dollars on promoting prescription drugs in the United States. No wonder drugs cost so much in the U.S. If Obama can control these types of wasteful spending then maybe we can discuss a public option and some sort of government funded insurance.

    February 25, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. The Other Michael in Houston

    Why the Obama Adminsitration is bent on setting themselves up with timelines is crazy. They ought to know by now that the Republicans will do everything in their power to stall them out as long as possible.

    February 25, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Dean

    Maybe we need to move on to bank reform.
    What happened to getting a straight-forward home loan, a fair credit card, and respect for the value of the money I deposit?

    What I see, bankers are back to getting huge bonuses, while the things they did that caused our nation's economic crisis are all still perfectly legal–booking quick profits on loans doomed to fail, passing the risk on to someone else, gambling with borrowed money.

    Bankers seem to have forgotten personal responsibility, fair play and thrift, and you need to get serious about bringing those values back.

    February 25, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. J.P.

    It is too late, kids.

    Republicans have been clobbering the socialists in the polls for seven or eight months now.

    Now that we're well into the midterm election season, Obama is a lame duck already. Democrats like getting reelected too much to take a bullet for Obama.

    Democrats will not walk the plank for Obama.
    Stick a fork in Hope and Change. It's over.

    February 25, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Scott, Tucson

    This clown couldn't get his health care bill passed when he had a 60 vote majority for the past year, what makes him believe he will get it at the end of March...did some unicorn whisper in his ear that it will pass?

    February 25, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. George Forsyth

    When A dem talks like J Rockerfeller you break away And your panel is so republican slanted. I guess CNN has been bought off by same people that buy politicians. Come on dont do this must be time to go back a republican must be talking.

    February 25, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. J.F.Karp

    There's a definate fundamental difference in policies of the republicans and democrats : the republicans just don't want all americans to have health coverage-they just don't get it We are drowning in health care costs!

    February 25, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  14. Jim

    I applaud Pres. Obama's leadership in moving health care reform toward completion! The health of businesses, individuals, and our nation's entire economy and soul, depend on getting health costs under control and making basic coverage avaliable to all.

    On a personal note, my healthy daughter is one of thousands of individuals who was notified of a whopping rate increase by her insuer, Anthem/Blue Cross. If we cannot implement health care reform, the costs will eventually consume 20% of our GDP and our insurance premiums will exceed our mortgage payments!

    February 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. phoenix86

    Obama and the dems are in a big hurry to bankrupt this country.

    Vote all dems out in 2010 and 2012, then put them in jail for fraud.

    February 25, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    End this debate Government run health care is unconstitutional! Stop wasting tax payer money on issues the ferderal Government has no business in.

    February 25, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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