The President Proposes a Bipartisan Summit on Health Care
by Charles Lemos, Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 07:28:48 AM EST
President Obama has proposed holding a bipartisan summit on February 25th at the White House in the hopes of restarting the now seemingly sidetracked health care reform packages. The event would be televised presumably on C-Span but perhaps as well by the cable news networks.
The story in the New York Times:
Mr. Obama made the announcement in an interview on CBS during the Super Bowl pre-game show, capitalizing on a vast television audience. He set out a plan that would put Republicans on the spot to offer their own ideas on health care and show whether both sides are willing to work together.
“I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward,” Mr. Obama said in the interview from the White House Library.
Mr. Obama challenged Republicans to attend the meeting with their plans for lowering the cost of health insurance and expanding coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Republican leaders said they welcomed the opportunity and called on Democrats to start the debate from scratch, which the president said he would not do.
The move by Mr. Obama comes after weeks in which the administration has appeared uncertain about how to proceed on his top domestic priority since Republicans captured the Senate seat previously held by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. House and Senate Democrats had been increasingly at odds over what the bill should say, how to move ahead tactically and, in some cases, whether to continue at all.
The idea for the bipartisan meeting, set for Feb. 25, was reached in recent weeks, aides said, as part of the White House strategy to intensify its push to engage Congressional Republicans in policy negotiations, share the burden of governing and put more scrutiny on Republican initiatives.
I personally prefer the combative Obama as opposed to the accommodating one so I am not sure what to make of this proposal. It seems that it runs the risk of endlessly extending an already tortuous process.