Obama Still Open to Using Reconciliation Process

Bumped from yesterday

Thanks to everyone for sending me questions to ask President Obama on the topic of healthcare during today's conference call with bloggers. I did manage to send one his way -- whether he is open to using the process of reconciliation to lower the vote threshold in the Senate from 60 to 50 (plus the Vice President) -- and interestingly enough he said he was.

I am having some difficulty uploading audio to MyDD right now (Update:John Amato has now posted the audio of the entire call), but for now here's the rush transcript of my exchange with the President:

Jonathan Singer: Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Mr. President. Given the timeline and the fact that it seems like bills may not be through both the  House and Senate by the August recess, is there a point at which you would say to the Senate, "Sixty votes doesn't seem like it's going to happen. Use the reconciliation process. Lower the threshold so the Republicans cannot delay the process." I know that's not optimal. But is there a point at which you would say that to the Senate?

President Obama: Keep in mind that the way we had structured the reconciliation issue several months ago, we moved forward on the basis of the assumption that we can get a bill through the regular order and the regular process by October. If I think that that is not possible, then we are going to look at all of our options, including reconciliation. Not because that's my preferred option, but because what I think will be unacceptable for the American people is inaction at a time when we have been seeing families bankrupted, businesses straining under the cost of healthcare, and in the absence of action, a continuation of Medicare and Medicaid trajectory that is unsustainable.

Now in fairness, I do think that what you're seeing right now is really serious hard work on the part of members of the Senate, and those on the Finance Committee. And although I may not agree with every single decision that may be made, in any of the committees, I think that folks really are working overtime, and I appreciate the work that they've done.

And I remain confident that we can pass a bill in the absence of reconciliation. But I do think that the bottom line for me is give the American people a serious reform package that lowers costs, increases choices, covers Americans, improves quality, changes our delivery system in a way that's rational and makes our healthcare system a lot smarter and efficient than it is right now. And I think that's achievable and I continue to believe that there are enough people of good faith who want to see that happen that we're going to get it done through the regular process.

[THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.]

Tags: Barack Obama, Healthcare (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Transcript of the President's opening remarks...

...at Show Me Progress.

This was striking:

"...And one of the things that I know the blogs are best at is debunking myths that can slip through a lot of the traditional media outlets and a lot of the conventional wisdom..."

It's a sad thing when our lowly blogs which are held together with spit, baling wire, and duct tape receive a vote of confidence like that over the old media from the President of the United States.

by Michael Bersin 2009-07-20 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Transcript of the President's

That MyDD is still running on vapors a full two years after scoop was no longer supporting it is a testimony to the dev skills of Rusty Foster & the satanosphere one over there.

I noticed the files no longer work too Jonathan, but this platform will hopefully last another month. Kyle is launching the new MyDD in time for NN we hope.

Good to see the President pulling out the stops for rallying for healthcare.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-07-20 10:58PM | 0 recs
good news

I hope it will be easier for diarists to embed links, videos, etc. in the new format.

by desmoinesdem 2009-07-21 10:45AM | 0 recs
Reconciliation Process

 I take some good-natured ribbing for being an Obama fan, but hearing my President actually answer a question in English convinces me that I'm justified. I just became a Jonathon Singer fan. Great question perfectly delivered.

by QTG 2009-07-21 07:53AM | 0 recs
This is why I decided he had to be president

I wasn't sold on Obama after the 2004 Democratic Convention like many were; I saw his various speeches in January 2008 and was converted.  His heart is in the right place AND he's tougher than a bag of nails.

The thing about Obama is that he is a master of a rope-a-dope.  We get on him for not prosecuting his predecessors (and that's our perrogative) or pushing gay rights enough, and we think that he's letting spineless or conservative congressional Democrats and/or Republicans drive his agenda, but when you think about it, nearly everything he's pushed for so far has come to pass in one way or another.

By not taking a hard line on most issues, the attention-defecit media forgets to take him seriously, and he wins when he decides to take a stand.

As Rome wasn't built in a day, Obama wants to keep his momentum, one or two issues at a time, until he is no longer president.

by Dracomicron 2009-07-21 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's hot bat

Most presidents start off strong in their ability to win congressional approval of agenda items, nominations and such in the first and second year of their term when it comes to roll call votes in the House and Senate in which they take a clear position for or against.

Obama looks likely to set the modern record, though. According to research by the independent and nonpartisan Congressional Quarterly publication, which has tracked presidential vote scores since 1953, Obama has a success rate of 95.2% on roll call votes when the White House's position was clear. That's a batting record of .952 for those inclined toward baseball math.

and some comparisons:

Closest to Obama in the first year ranking is Dwight Eisenhower, who scored 89.2% in 1953 with the benefit of a large Republican congressional majority. After him is Lyndon Johnson in 1964, who scored 87.9% with the push for the Great Society programs. Former President George W. Bush had an 86.7% rating with Congress in 2001, when a Republican majority was able to do his bidding on tax cuts and other measures.

The lowest score? Gerald Ford in 1974, following the resignation of Richard Nixon. Ford racked up a score of 58.2%. Right above him is George H.W. Bush in 1989, who scored 62.6% with a Democratic Congress following the departure of Ronald Reagan, who left office with low popularity and in the wake of the Iran Contra scandal.

Kiplinger

http://blog.kiplinger.com/politics/2009/ 07/obamas-hot-bat-in-congress.html

by QTG 2009-07-21 10:21AM | 0 recs
Moveon.org is solidly behind you on this one

Everyone wants to see Healthcare pass in a big way. Great interview Jon, to follow I would argue we should dig deep and find out if that single payer option model that NY wants to push forward is really , in fact, modelled after a failed system in Massachusetts and if the single payer option on the table is bonafide.

The GOP so badly wants to take down Obama on this issue and to be honest, with watchdogs like us I argue that - its not OBama's waterloo that this issue is going to represent

It is the demise of the GOP itself.  To see them oppose healthcare reform because Lobbyists are pumping, according to opensecrets.org - nearly 1.4 million dollars into their pockets each day now - to try to stop it...

Is to seem the torn apart like the other parties of the past - the whigs, know-nothings, etc.

Obama came off soundin gso cool in this interview I actually read it over the phone to someone in LA .

by Trey Rentz 2009-07-21 01:47PM | 0 recs
The mistake here

is to assume that the public is completely behind healthcare reform...they all want it, but they're very vulnerable to spin against cost, taxes, etc.

For instance, THIS is what is influencing people who want healthcare reform;

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/07/21/b orger.health.care/index.html

It's a different story when you have the media pretending that it's for reform, when it's not; "We need reform, but not what the Democrats are proposing"

by DTOzone 2009-07-21 02:04PM | 0 recs
by Jillmz 2009-07-21 06:42PM | 0 recs

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