Obama Calls Meetings With Dem ‘Problem Children’ to Push HCR

March 4, 2010

(ChattahBox)— The heat is on and President Obama is employing a little executive office arm twisting combined with cajolery to persuade problem members of the Democratic caucus to vote yes on healthcare reform. It’s not an easy task to rein in the huge egos of a disparate group of congressional lawmakers, some of whom are facing tough reelection campaigns, but if anyone can whip this disparate group into shape and provide them with some backbone, it’s President Obama. Every vote counts. And with today’s announcement that Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) is postponing his retirement to vote no on healthcare reform, the magic number just went up to 217.

According to Roll Call’s account of the two meetings, the summoned lawmakers were well aware of their “problem” status, as Democrats who would deny their President and their own party a win on healthcare reform:

“Obama reached out to different factions of House Democrats on Wednesday night and asked them to meet with him this afternoon in two separate meetings. Several lawmakers who were invited said Obama didn’t tell them what the meetings were about, but that it was fairly obvious based on the guest list.”

“It’s the problem children who are being invited,” said one Member who planned on attending the meeting.”

The progressive Democratic lawmakers attending were:

Reps. Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU) Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair, Health Care Task Force Chair, Donna Christensen (D-VI) Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Health Care Task Force Co-chair, Danny Davis (D-IL) Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Health Care Task Force Co-chair, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair, Mike Honda (D-CA) Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) Congressional Progressive Caucus, Health Care Task Force Co-chair, Barbara Lee (D-CA) Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Health Care Task Force Co-Chair, Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) Congressional Progressive Caucus, Health Care Task Force Co-chair, Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair.

And the centrist Democrats attending were members of the New Democrat Coalition:

Reps. Jason Altmire (D-PA) Health Task Force Co-Chair, Melissa Bean (D-IL) Vice-Chair and Whip, Lois Capps (D-CA) Health Task Force Co-Chair, Joseph Crowley (D-NY) Vice-Chair, Ron Kind (D-WI) Vice-Chair and Health Task Force Co-Chair, Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) Vice-Chair and Health Task Force Co-Chair and Adam Smith (D-WA) Vice-Chair.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, during his daily briefing, that Obama was stressing to all lawmakers meeting with him today; the benefits of the legislation and “why we can’t walk away.”

Let’s hope the Democratic “problem children” won’t sell out their own party and their constituents suffering from the lack of health insurance reform, for the sake of their own self interests.


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