Obama Sets Deadline on Health Care Reform

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President Obama hopes to see his controversial health care reform bill approved by March 18, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said March 4.

According to thehill.com, Gibbs said sweeping health care reform should move through Congress before the president leaves for a trip to Australia and Indonesia.

“We’re leaving on March 18 and we believe that we’re on schedule, based on our conversations that have been had with the Speaker of the House and the majority leader, that we’re on schedule to get something done before we leave,” Gibbs said.

The press secretary said Obama hopes the House will pass the Senate’s primary health care bill by that date, with a final bill to be signed by Easter.

Because Obama’s recent bipartisan health care reform summit failed to provoke any Republican converts, Democrats are turning to a political process called reconciliation, which would sidestep the need for Republican support.

The process would allow the Democratic-majority Congress to approve Obama’s proposed health care reform with a simple majority vote, according to a reuters.com report.