"I think it's very important for us to have a methodical, open process over the next several weeks, and then let's go ahead and make a decision," Obama said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. "And it may be that ... if Congress decides we're not going to do it, even after all the facts are laid out, all the options are clear, then the American people can make a judgment as to whether this Congress has done the right thing for them or not," the president said. "And that's how democracy works. There will be elections coming up, and they'll be able to make a determination and register their concerns."
It appeared to be a shift in tone for the issue the "Yes we can" candidate campaigned on and made the centerpiece of his domestic agenda last year. Sweeping health legislation to extend medical coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans passed the House and Senate last year and was on the verge of completion before Brown's upset victory last month in a special election in Massachusetts. Since then it has been in limbo, and Obama has not publicly offered specifics to help lawmakers move forward.
"The next step is what I announced at the State of the Union, which is to call on our Republican friends to present their ideas. What I'd like to do is have a meeting whereby I'm sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with healthcare experts, and let's just go through these bills. ... And then I think that we've got to go ahead and move forward on a vote," Obama said the night of Feb. 4 shortly after a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders that produced no apparent progress on healthcare.
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