‘Now Is The Season For Action’: Obama Addresses Joint Session Of Congress

President Barack Obama enters the House of Representatives chamber to address a joint session of Congress on health care reform on Wednesday, September 9, 2009.

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“Well, the time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do. Now is the time to deliver on health care. Now is the time to deliver on health care.”

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Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA)


Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) during the now infamous “You Lie!” heckle.


Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), holds up a copy of a Republican alternative bill during President Obama’s address.

Newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly

A Representative holds a sign in his lap questioning the President’s plan.

Newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), gives a thumbs up as President Obama refers to a proposal of McCain’s, that provides care for high risk patients.

Newscom/Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly

“I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform. And ever since, nearly every President and Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, has attempted to meet this challenge in some way.”


Vicki Kennedy, the wife of the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.


Representative John Dingell, Jr. (D-MI) received a standing ovation as he and his late father were recognized for their efforts on health care reform.


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks with moderate Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) shares a joke with Senator Al Franken (D-MN).


“Insurance executives don’t do this because they’re bad people; they do it because it’s profitable. As one former insurance executive testified before Congress, insurance companies are not only encouraged to find reasons to drop the seriously ill, they are rewarded for it. All of this is in service of meeting what this former executive called “Wall Street’s relentless profit expectations.””


President Obama edits his health care speech aboard Marine One en route to the White House from Andrews Air Force Base.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama enters the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

First Lady Michelle Obama greets Darlene Daniels, of Baltimore, Md., in the gallery of the House Chamber.

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

“We are the only democracy — the only advanced democracy on Earth — the only wealthy nation — that allows such hardship for millions of its people. There are now more than 30 million American citizens who cannot get coverage. In just a two-year period, one in every three Americans goes without health care coverage at some point. And every day, 14,000 Americans lose their coverage. In other words, it can happen to anyone.”

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Judd Gregg (R- NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

“But that is not what the moment calls for. That’s not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. (Applause.) I still believe — I still believe that we can act when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.”

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Barack Obama looks towards the First Lady and guests seated in the gallery of the House Chamber.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Vicki Kennedy following President Barack Obama’s health care address.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza