July 24, 2009
Anna Christopher, NPR
July 24, 2009; Washington, D.C. – In an interview airing today on NPR News' Morning Edition, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says Congress is making progress on the administration's health care bill, telling host Steve Inkseep that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi plans to bring the bill to a full vote before the summer recess next week: "I can tell you what I know, which is that the speaker today announced to the caucus that their intention is to go next week and she is working toward that goal." Inskeep interviewed Emanuel yesterday evening following the chief of staff's meetings on the Hill with Democratic lawmakers. Complete audio of the interview and a web story are posted now at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106946745
Describing the effort to keep various advocacy and industry groups behind the bill, Emanuel says: "One of the things that I think is important is keeping the advocates who have been the biggest stumbling blocks to reform on the side of getting reform done. Not at all costs, but helping them push this along. That has been a key part of this. We are down to the final details. Those details matter. But we will, I think --and are making progress."
During the NPR interview, Emanuel also responds to Republican criticism of the health care bill, in particular, to recent comments by Senator Jim DeMint and Senator James Inhofe. Emanuel says he "compliment[s]" the senators for being "honest," and that he hasn’t "heard a lot of people in their party criticize them." The full exchange follows:
EMANUEL: I'm OK with politics, as you well know. You know, today Senator Inhofe, I don't have the exact quote, but basically the thrust of the quote was the political importance of defeating this because of what it would do to President Obama. They're seeing it in political terms, and they've decided that if they can beat the president on health care reform, they've scored a big political victory. But what they've also guaranteed in policy terms is that you have the status quo. I actually appreciate what Senator DeMint said and Senator Inhofe. I'm different than everybody, I'm not going to criticize them. I compliment them. They’re honest. Now –
INSKEEP: Are you telling Democrats there's actually some truth to that – if you guys don’t stick with us on this it could be a disaster for the Democratic Party –
EMANUEL: No, no. They're being honest about what they see the stakes. And what I find interesting, I haven't heard a lot of people in their party criticize them.
All excerpts must be credited to NPR News' Morning Edition. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. The audio of the interview is available now at www.NPR.org A complete transcript will be made available later this morning via contact below.
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