Yesterday, President Obama reiterated that the “next step” for health care reform is “a meeting where I’m sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health care experts and let’s just go through these bills.” “Their ideas, our ideas. Let’s just walk through them in a methodical way,” Obama said.
But during today’s press gaggle at the White House, Robert Gibbs said that Democrats have not actually scheduled any meetings with Republicans:
REPORTER: Any meetings in the works with Republicans?
GIBBS: I will point you to what he said with Republicans last Friday and in SOTU “in wanting to hear and see more ideas.” Nothing scheduled right now.
REPORTER: Would he like Pelosi to call for a vote?
GIBBS: They’re still working with Capitol Hill on the best way forward.
Some progressives have argued that the Senate health care bill already represents a compromise between Republican and Democratic ideas. They suggest that Republicans would not be willing to negotiate with Democrats in good faith and believe that passing the Senate health care bill, alongside a package of fixes using reconciliation, represents the best chance for achieving comprehensive health care reform before the end of the year.
On a recent conference call with reporters, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said reconciliation represented the best way forward on reform and refused to discuss a ‘plan B’ for reform. Still, she insisted that “we will get the job done for the American people one way or another.”