INTERVIEW: Big weekend for health reform - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

INTERVIEW: Big weekend for health reform

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The wheels are in motion on health care reform. Democrats in Congress plan to vote this Sunday, but, the outcome is still in question. 

David Gregory- the host of NBC's "Meet the Press"- joins us from Washington to talk, about the big vote. 

Q: You know, we're always interested in your guests, but this Sunday you have two people which we Virginians probably are most interested in. You have two party chairmen talking about this crucial vote. Tell us, my expectation probably is going to be a heated discussion. Tell us what our audience can expect.

Well, I think it will be. You've got the party chairman, Tim Kaine, of course, Governor Kaine and Michael Steele. And the battleground here is not only what is going to be achieved in this bill but what is it actually mean to the Obama presidency, what does it mean to the midterm race, the fall complain, because this is going to be an issue that is front and center, you have heard republicans say they will campaign on the idea of repealing healthcare if it's passed, and you have democrats who are preparing to pass it, and then going to the polls to say, going to voters saying this is a great thing. This is ultimately the kind of change that the president promised. I think those two will have that discussion.

What are you hearing from your contacts in Washington about this bill passing?

Well, I think the outlook is good. There's certainly some momentum on the side of the White House and democrats, they are whittling down the number of no votes. They want to turn some no's into yes's; remember the House voted on this in the past, but this is a new version of it that will have the so-called fixes, so they are getting close. I would say right now the vote deficit is single digits, and that's, you know, they are working very, very hard. And once they get into tomorrow morning, then it's really, it goes down to the wire. They will not call for the vote unless they have the votes, which is important. If they don't have the votes on Sunday, then you can see that vote slip. I think that's part of the reason why the president delayed his trip.

What do you suppose President Obama is saying to democrats who aren't in the fold now? Is he applying pressure, or being soft about it?

A lot of pressure. No, I don't think he's being soft. I think there is pressure. I think he is making an argument that goes something like this: you know, if you're wavering on this, you can run, but you can't hide. You know, you've already cast a vote in favor of healthcare reform, republicans are going to use that against you anyway, you might as well get the upside of reform, and this is vital for the presidency and for the president's agenda. This is the time to stand with your president, and deliver. I think that's some of the arm twisting going on.

So losing is not an option in this scenario?

Right. That's right.

See the video at right for the full interview.

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