Obama asks Congress to vote on healthcare reform in "next few weeks"

08:37, March 04, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday asked leaders of the Congress to schedule a final vote in the next few weeks on the healthcare insurance reform.

Obama said he has asked leaders in both houses of the Congress to "finish their work and schedule a vote (on the healthcare reform) in the next few weeks," and he is to "do everything" in his power to make the case for reform, as he unveiled his final version of health reform proposal in a White House speech.

The White House later announced Obama is to travel to Pennsylvania's Philadelphia and Missouri's St. Louis next week to discuss the health insurance reform, trying to win popular support.

"I urge every American who wants this reform to make their voice heard as well -- every family, every business owner, every patient, every doctor, every nurse," Obama said.

He said Congress should vote on the bill with or without Republican support, suggesting the Democratic-controlled chambers use a legislative maneuver called reconciliation, which only needs a simple majority in the Senate to pass a budget bill, since the Democrats don't have a filibuster-proof supermajority of 60 votes now.

"It deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that was cast on welfare reform, the Children's Health Insurance Program, COBRA health coverage for the unemployed, and both Bush tax cuts -- all of which had to pass Congress with nothing more than a simple majority," he said.

The legislations he mentioned were all tucked in controversial budget bills, using the reconciliation process created by Congress in 1974, which only needs a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate to pass.

Source: Xinhua
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