The defeat of a $247 billion provision to stave off steep cuts in doctor reimbursement rates under Medicare sent a strong signal to Democrats that their road to passing a sweeping health care bill this year will be more difficult than they anticipated.
Not only did the 47-53 vote show Majority Leader Harry Reid that lawmakers in his party will not easily get in line behind his yet-to-be unveiled health care plan, the defeat may push its cost well beyond the $900 billion limit set by President Obama. Read More
A half-dozen of the Senate's Democratic freshmen gave coordinated health care reform speeches on the Senate floor Wednesday, but only one lawmaker called for the creation of a government health insurance option.
With Senate Democratic leaders in intense talks over how to craft a final reform bill, the lukewarm view of the public option by many in the caucus is but one of a slew of differences Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must try to iron out if he is to win a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Read More
A new note is creeping in to President Obama's campaign speeches lately -- a frustrated tone sharply at odds with the hope and change themes of less than a year ago.
As he travels this week on behalf of Democratic candidates in multiple states, Obama is lashing out at his critics, and those who won't give him credit for nine months of work. Read More
Hoping for new momentum for a government-run insurance program after a poll showing increased public support, Senate Democrats instead found questions about the survey's accuracy and continuing doubts among moderate members.
A Washington Post/ABC poll trumpeted "clear majority support" for a public option, but Senate Democrats, who met privately to discuss health care, were still struggling to define what a government-run plan would look like. Read More
President Obama praised Afghan President Hamid Karzai's willingness to face a runoff in his disputed election, amid mixed signals from the White House over whether the results could delay a decision on troop levels.
"We have seen the candidates expressing a willingness to abide by constitutional law, and there is a path forward in order to complete this election process," Obama said, during an Oval Office visit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Read More
With liberal groups intensifying pressure to include a government-run insurance program in Democratic health care proposals, the White House continued to hedge on the issue -- saying President Obama is most concerned about fairness.
"What's important for all this process and for the end of this process is ensuring that at the end of this, we have in insurance markets the ability for people to have choice and competition," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "We'll evaluate proposals as they happen." Read More
For Democrats determined to get a health care bill, Sen. Roland Burris is like the house guest who couldn't be refused, won't soon be leaving and poses a plausible threat of ruining holiday dinner.
Suddenly, he can no longer be ignored.
The Illinois Democrat, appointed by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, says he'll only vote for a bill to provide health care to millions more Americans as long as it allows the government to sell insurance in competition with private insurers.
And he says he won't compromise. Read More
VIRGINIA BEACH - Sen. John McCain on Saturday sought to build support within Hampton Roads' considerable contingent of military voters on behalf of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell.
In a speech before a crowd of a few hundred at a Virginia Beach VFW post, McCain denounced the $1.4 trillion U.S. federal deficit and praised McDonnell as a fiscal hawk. He framed the race as a national bellwether that will set the direction of the country. Virginia is one of two states to select a governor this year in what could be a "very close election," McCain said. Read More
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds will get a boost on the campaign trail from President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, as national Democratic figures focus their attention on the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey. Read More
A health care funding mechanism favored by Democratic leaders in the Senate -- a tax on costly health-insurance plans -- seems to be in big trouble as members balk at the idea.
But the tax pays for nearly a quarter of the $829 billion plan that provides the framework for the Democratic proposal and even a modest reduction would leave the plan billions of dollars short of being fully funded, which would be a deal breaker with moderate members.
"It's a real problem, isn't it?" said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., a moderate who opposes the excise tax. Read More