Emanuel: Healthcare Will Pass by Thanksgiving

Friday, 25 Sep 2009 11:58 AM

By Dan Weil

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Congress will pass a healthcare reform bill "before the members go home for Thanksgiving," says White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Emanuel, who made the comments during an interview on the Charlie Rose show Wednesday, hedged on whether the bill will contain a public option, which many Democrats support but many Republicans oppose.

“That should be what the conference (committee) has to negotiate," he said.

"Can it pass with a public option feature?" Rose asked in response.

"I think the Senate's been clear about what — the prospects there," Emanuel said, meaning no in the Senate. But, "That doesn't mean in the House that they're not going to come to the table and demand that.”

Emanuel also contends that the bill will be "bipartisan" even if every Republican in the House and Senate votes against it.

"There are going to be bipartisan ideas and policies in this healthcare bill, be it the idea that Senator McCain advocated during the presidential primary," Emanuel said, referring to a McCain healthcare tax proposal that Obama attacked during the presidential campaign.

"It will be in the bill. So the final product will be bipartisan. If Republican or individuals decide to vote for it, that's their choice. But the policy making of the . . ."

"So the policy will be bipartisan, whether you get votes or not?" Rose asked.

"Right," Emanuel said. Obama "will never, ever stop trying" to win Republican support.

"So you're always asking them for new ideas, if they have any?" Rose said.

"Always, constantly," Emanuel said.

That’s not how some Republicans see it.

Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who heads the House GOP Study Committee, told The Washington Examiner that Obama has been unwilling to meet with Republican to hear their ideas.

"The White House, in spite of saying they look forward to meeting with anybody who wants to solve these challenges, has rebuffed us at every turn," Price said.

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