In a Day's Work
-- President Obama held a forum with AARP members to continue his push for swift action in the House and Senate on health-care legislation. He predicted to the powerful seniors lobby that if Congress does not reform the system this year, lawmakers within the next decade will be making decisions about Medicare "based on politics" rather than needs.
"If I was thinking about Medicare and making sure that I was secure, the thing that I would be most worried about right now is health-care inflation keeps on going up, and the trust fund in 10 years is suddenly in the red, and now Congress has to make some decisions," Obama said.
-- Negotiations continued at both ends of the Capitol, with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel meeting with House leaders and conservative Democrats for 3 1/2 hours in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in an attempt to break an impasse that would move legislation out of the Energy and Commerce Committee before the House adjourns Friday for a summer recess. The conservative Democratic holdouts, members of the Blue Dog Coalition, are stressing their concerns about reimbursement rates for Medicare services to health-care providers and a large surtax in the House draft bill that would fund the legislation, worth more than $1 trillion.
-- A bipartisan group of senators on the Finance Committee continued trying to work out compromise legislation that could garner 60 votes in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to get a bill through the panel before the Senate leaves Aug. 7 for its own recess.