Obama once again dismissed calls from Republicans to scrap the current legislation and start over, arguing that too much time has already been spent on this issue and the differences between the two parties will not be resolved with another year of negotiations and debate.
"[Health care reform] 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," the president said Wednesday, citing five bills that were passed in the Senate using reconciliation rules.
"For us to start over now could simply lead to delay that could last for another decade or even more," he said. "The American people, and the U.S. economy, just can't wait that long."
The White House's outline for the path to getting a bill passed includes having the House pass the health care reform legislation passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve, as well as a second bill containing "fixes" to that legislation.