Hailing passage of the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill as a “critical milestone in our effort to reform our health care system,” President Obama came to the Rose Garden later this afternoon to announce “we are now closer than ever before to passing health reform — but we're not there yet.”
“Now's not the time to pat ourselves on the back,” the president said. “Now's not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now's the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done.”
The president praised the “tireless efforts” of Committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and others, and made sure to point out that one of the 14 Senators who voted for it today is a Republican – Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, whom the White House has been courting diligently.
The Baucus bill “includes ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, which is why it enjoys the support of people from both parties,” the president said. “And I want to particularly thank Senator Olympia Snowe for both the political courage and the seriousness of purpose that she's demonstrated throughout this process.”
He noted that much difficult work lies ahead with “significant details and disagreements to be worked out over the next several weeks as the five separate bills from the Senate and the House are merged into one proposal.”