By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
The Associated Press
3:31 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, 2009
WASHINGTON — After more than week of tirelessly pressuring Congress to move his top domestic priority, it appears increasingly likely President Barack Obama may have to settle for a fallback strategy on health care overhaul.
Instead of votes in the House and Senate by August, the best Democrats may be able to hope for this summer is action by the full House by the end of the month and some sort of agreement on a bipartisan plan in the Senate before lawmakers head home for vacation.
Not only are Republicans honing their opposition, but some Democrats in both chambers are voicing doubts about moving such complex and costly legislation too quickly.
"No one wants to tell the speaker (Nancy Pelosi) that she's moving too fast and they damn sure don't want to tell the president," Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., a key committee chairman, told a fellow lawmaker as the two walked into a closed-door meeting Tuesday. The remark was overheard by reporters.
Obama has scheduled a prime-time news conference Wednesday, expected to focus on health care. It's turning into a major test of his leadership. One Republican senator says if the party can stop Obama on health care, it will break him.
In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, the president insisted on action by lawmakers, even as he conceded some of the criticism was valid. Referring to objections from a group of conservative Democrats in the House, Obama said, "I think, rightly, a number of these so called Blue Dog Democrats — more conservative Democrats — were concerned that not enough had been done on reducing costs."