Obama Hits DeMint, Republicans For Playing Politics With Health Care; Commits To Reform ‘By End Of This Year’

July 20, 2009 9:48 a.m.

In a speech at Children’s National Medical Center this afternoon, President Obama lashed out at health care reform opponents and committed to signing a bill by year’s end.

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” That unusually blunt assessment of Republican thinking on health care came from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). It may have been a bit too blunt, though. The White House is latching on to it to paint the opponents of reform as political animals, unconcerned with the welfare of the uninsured.

But, just as last week, Obama seems stopped short of insisting upon an August deadline for House and Senate votes–or even an October deadline for finishing work altogether, saying only “let’s pass a bill by the end of this year.” If the deadline is the end of the year, though, the strong implication is that the House and Senate won’t have completed work on their bills by the time they adjourn for August recess–and that would damage the prospects for comprehensive reform in a number of ways.

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