President Barack Obama tried to quell growing concerns over the speed and substance behind his push to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, reiterating a pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class and pressing lawmakers to move ahead on legislation. “We are going to get this done,” Obama said. “And for those naysayers and cynics who think that this is not going to happen, don't bet against us.”
The remarks followed a rough week for the administration, during which lawmakers on Capitol Hill hit the brakes on the legislative process to craft a $1 trillion health reform package.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, were expected to meet with Obama today at the White House. On Friday, Rangel said the House planned to pay for roughly half of its reform bill with a tax increase on households with incomes of $350,000 and up.
The measure gives the president cover. Obama said that he would not increase taxes for households that make $250,000 or less. He stood by that pledge again today. “These are promises that we're keeping as reform moves forward,” Obama said.