Policy-ish

Obama Vows To Press On With Overhaul After Jobs Bill

The president doesn't seem to think health overhaul is dead, even if you do.

President Obama works the crowd at a Washington fundraiser where he defended health overhaul.

President Obama works the crowd at a Washington fundraiser where he defended health overhaul. (Charles Dharapak/AP) hide caption

itoggle caption (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Last night at a Democratic fundraiser in Washington, President Obama defended what's been done so far and sketched out a path for action. Before much longer, though he didn't say exactly when, Obama wants Congress "to move forward on a vote. We've got to move forward on a vote"

There were some wonkily funny moments in the speech. Obama got a pretty good laugh with his response to criticism about the push for overhaul:

I love how the pundits on these cable shows, they all announce, 'Oh, boy, this was really tough politically for the president.' Well, I've got my own pollsters. I know. I know.

I knew this was hard. I knew seven presidents had failed. I knew seven Congresses hadn't gotten it done. You don't think I got warnings?

So what's he going to do?

First, get the Democrats, his "Republicans friends" and health experts to meet and work their way through the bills and any other worthy ideas on health overhaul. Then present the ideas to the public and get agreement on what make the most sense.

We already pretty much know where he's headed. He reviewed the more than 90 percent of the Senate and House health bills that are in agreement, such as restrictions on insurers and expansion and insurance marketplaces for small businesses and the uninsured.

"It's important to have a methodical open process over the next several weeks, then let's go ahead and make a decision," he said.

Obama didn't go into detail on exactly how he sees legislation coming to a vote on Capitol Hill. Before that can happen, he said, lawmakers first have to deal with a jobs package, because that's the most pressing matter for Americans right now.

After that, though, let the chips fall where the may:

If Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the option are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not.

You can check out a video of the president's speech and his answers to four questions below. Zip ahead to just past the 16-minute mark to hear the health part of the speech. His answer to a question about the path forward starts around the 25th minute.

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