Senate: Health Care Won't Get Done By August Recess

Citing the "more than 130 national organizations," including the American Medical Association, that have backed Obama on his health care plan, Pelosi plugged reform as "probably the single most important initiative we can take to turn our economy around."

"I am very confident that we will be on schedule and we will be able to present a wonderful gift to the American people -- gift of confidence and of peace of mind," she said in a news conference.

Republicans also continue to step up their counteroffensive. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, repeated his calls for a new bill, saying that lawmakers should throw out the bill and start fresh.

There are currently four different bills circulating in Congress.

Obama Says He Won't Sign Reform That Adds 'Even One Dime' To Deficit

Obama today said some parts of the health care plan would need to happen quickly, like lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors, but he said the bulk of the reform would be complicated and take time.

Obama also returned to what are now familiar talking points about squeezing inefficiencies out of the current health care system in order to pay for reforms and assuaging concerns about a "government takeover" of health care.

Today he tried to assure the American public that he's very concerned about putting the country further into debt.

"If you are a taxpayer concerned about deficits, I want you to understand that I'm concerned about deficits too," he said. "And that's why I pledged that I will not sign health insurance reform. As badly as I think it's necessary, I won't sign it if that reform adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade -- and I mean what I say."

Wednesday, in his prime time news conference, Obama backed off the August deadline he had set for Congress to pass a bill and tried to change the narrative, explaining that his deadline had been more of a motivator.

"I'm rushed, because I get letters every day from families that are being clobbered by health care costs, and they ask me 'Can you help?'" the president said in the nearly hour-long news conference. "The second thing is the fact that, if you don't set deadlines in this town, things don't happen. The default position is inertia, because doing something always creates some people who are unhappy."

While possibly the most compelling moment of the evening came in Obama's closing comments about the arrest of prominent Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., the bulk of the press conference was focused on the battle to pass a health care bill in Congress.

Obama said he would reject any legislation that is "primarily funded through taxing middle class families."

But he continued to push both the House and Senate and urge lawmakers, especially Republicans, to move beyond the "game of politics."

"This debate is not a game for these Americans" affected by problems with the current system, "and they cannot afford to wait for reform any longer," Obama said in the East Room of the White House. "They are counting on us to get this done. They are looking to us for leadership. And we must not let them down."

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