It looks like we are finally going to get a look at what kind of healthcare bill President Obama wants the Democrats to shoot for at this stage.
In his invitation to Republic leaders for next week’s televised healthcare summit, Obama had said that the Democrats would present a specific plan (which would be posted on the internet in advance). At that point, since there wasn’t yet a consensus bill that the House and Senate had agreed on, there was speculation that the White House might present its own bill. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs fueled the speculation last Monday:
During a news conference last week, Mr. Obama said he envisioned posting a merged House-Senate bill that would address his goals of controlling costs and expanding coverage. “Now, we have a package, as we work through the differences between the House and the Senate, and we’ll put it up on a Web site for all to see over a long period of time, that meets those criteria, meets those goals,’’ the president said.
But Mr. Obama may be running out of time. His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked Monday if the president would simply post his own bill if the House and the Senate cannot come to terms.
“Stay tuned,’’ Mr. Gibbs said. He declined to elaborate.
Now the NYT reports that the White House does indeed propose to present its own plan:
President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday.
Democratic officials said the president’s proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.
Congressional Democrats, however, have not yet seen the proposal or signed on.
The plan will be posted online by Monday morning. The NYT offers some details of what elements the plan is expected to contain, but it appears to still be a work-in-progress. The operative phrase is still “Stay tuned!”