Obama to Congress: Vote Health Care 'Up or Down'

Tells Senate to go for 'up or down vote'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2010 1:44 PM CST
President Barack Obama, flanked by health care professionals Barbara Crane, left, and Stephen Hanson, speaks about health care reform, Wednesday, March 3, 2010, in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – Barack Obama gave Congress its marching orders today, telling them to hold a final vote on health care reform within the next few weeks. He essentially told the Senate to pass the bill via reconciliation, though he didn’t use the term, instead demanding an “up or down vote,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “No matter which approach you favor, I believe the United States Congress owes the American people a final vote,” he said.

“We have debated this issue thoroughly, not just for a year, but for decades,” he added. He pointed out that he’d incorporated Republican ideas into the plan, and removed “provisions that were more about winning individual votes in Congress than improving health care.” But it’s unlikely Republicans will endorse the bill. Earlier, Sen. Tom Harkin confirmed for Politico that Democrats had settled on using reconciliation to pass the bill.

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