President Obama has asked Republicans to bring their best health care ideas to a February 25 televised conference and continue the health care reform debate, which stalled when Democrats lost their 60th Senate vote last month, notes the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va.
An article from Reuters says the summit would give the president another chance to sway public opinion on the legislation that is crucial to the president’s domestic agenda and answer criticism that he did not engage Republicans and instead negotiated backroom deals in an effort to get reform passed.
The White House says the summit is not intended as a vehicle to begin the health care debate anew. Rather, it would give Republicans a chance to explain their unified opposition to the bill. Republicans say that they are wary of Obama’s intentions and do not intend to compromise on a bill that polls show is opposed by a majority of Americans.
Some lawmakers say that televising a meeting of top leaders in both parties could lead to more political point-making than actual compromise and progress.
A summit marked by more partisan gridlock could give Obama an excuse to move ahead on the bill through a budget process that requires only a simple majority of 51 votes in the 100-member Senate, bypassing Republican opposition, according the Reuters article.