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Obama version of health care expected Monday

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The White House is readying its last-ditch effort to salvage health care legislation while the Senate's Republican leader is warning Democrats against a go-it-alone approach.

The White House was expected to post a version of President Barack Obama's plan for overhauling health care on its Web site today, ahead of his critical and daring summit Thursday at Blair House.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday he would participate, but that Obama and congressional Democrats would be "arrogant" to push the bills they wrote in the House and Senate.

"You know, they are saying, 'Ignore the wishes of the American people. We know more about this than you do. And we're going to jam it down your throats no matter what.' That is why the public is so angry at this Congress and this administration over this issue," said McConnell (R-Ky.).

The conference at the White House guest residence is to be televised live on C-SPAN and perhaps on cable news networks. It represents a gamble by the administration that Obama can save his embattled overhaul through persuasion - a risky and unusual step.

It was forced on the administration by the Senate special election victory of Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown in January. He captured the seat long held by Democrat Edward Kennedy, who died last year. Brown's victory reduced the Democrats' majority in the Senate to 59 votes, one shy of the number needed to knock down Republican delaying tactics.

McConnell said talk by Democrats about trying to pass the measure using a Senate maneuver that would require just 51 votes amounted to resorting to "a device which has never been used for this kind of major systemic reform." Big tax cuts for wealthy Americans were passed using that method during the administration of President George W. Bush, and McConnell supported it then.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, hoped a compromise - "sweet spot," he called it - deal was possible.


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