POLITICS

Orszag: Republicans Trying To Kill Health Care Reform Through Delay

08/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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President Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, accused Senate Republicans on Sunday of trying to kill health care reform by dragging out the legislative process.

Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Orszag labeled the attempts to push back the health care reform timeline as a "typical Washington bureaucratic game of if you don't have a better alternative just delay in hopes that that kills something."

"We want to get this done by August and we think we can," he added. "There are those that are advocating delay just as a desperation move to try and kill this."

Orszag stressed that not everyone calling for delay had sinister motives. The moderate Democrats in the Senate and Blue Dog Democrats in the House, he said, were "actively participating in the debate and that is great." This past week, Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) Mary Landrieu (La.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), along with Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) and Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins signed a letter asking to slow down the health care reform debate.

Nevertheless, from Orszag's CNN appearance, it seemed clear that the administration thinks pushing back the health care timeline amounts to a death sentence for reform. On Sunday, the OMB Director repeated that the White House's goal was to have legislation passed through both the House and the Senate by the time both chambers break for August recess.

"It's still the goal," he said. "We think we can make that. We are working towards that."

He added that the White House had been in discussion over the weekend with many of the recalcitrant House Democrats and Senate Finance Committee members to hammer out some sort of agreement.

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