Thursday, February 05, 2009
Associated Press via Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a bill extending health coverage to 4 million uninsured children, a move he called a first step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge to provide insurance for all Americans. It was a victory for Obama a day after his nominee to shepherd his broad health care agenda stepped aside amid tax problems.
Obama used an ebullient East Room signing ceremony to continue his push for his plan that would provide universal health insurance, even as he spent much of the previous day admitting he "screwed up" in naming former Sen. Tom Daschle to spearhead the health care overhaul. He wrapped the signing event in another pitch for his separate $819 billion economic plan that now is under consideration in the Senate and faces Republican opposition.
"As I think everybody here will agree, this is only the first step," Obama said of the bill that reauthorizes the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
"Because the way I see it, providing coverage to 11 million children through CHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American," he said to applause before turning to the economic recovery bill.
"It won't be easy; it won't happen all at once," Obama said. "But this bill that I'm about to sign, that wasn't easy either."
Obama and his advisers see the economic crisis as his window to push through many of his campaign pledges. Renewable energy, financial regulation and even rural Internet access all have been tied to repairing the nation's fractured economy. In the process, Obama has exposed his plan to criticism and questions that threaten to jettison the first major legislation his team has assembled....(Click for remainder).