Not 24 hours after the president went on national television to quell growing criticism over his effort to reshape the U.S. healthcare system, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) officially unchained a key Senate committee from a White House-backed deadline.
Reid said that the Senate would not vote on a comprehensive health reform bill before its August recess. The Senate officially goes on break Aug. 7, returning in September. The top senator said, “The decision was made to give them more time for the Finance Committee part of what we are trying to do, and I don't think it is unreasonable.”
President Barack Obama has said that he wanted a bill before the recess.
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), said that a slipping deadline does not mean that work won't continue. “I know that (Reid) pointed out earlier that it probably wouldn't get to the floor of the Senate until September,” Dodd said. “But let me quickly add that doesn't excuse, obviously, our committees from doing everything we can in the remaining weeks here before the August break—as well as during the break—to try to meld our ideas and build this together.”
Obama shrugged off the delay. “That's OK, I just want people to keep on working,” Obama told a town hall meeting in Cleveland, according to the Associated Press. “I want it done by the end of the year. I want it done by the fall.”