By Sam Youngman - 08/06/09 10:47 AM EDT
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declined to say whether Obama would veto or sign a bill that doesn't include a government-run public option plan, which the Senate Finance Committee is reportedly close to passing. Members of the committee are set to meet with Obama later Thursday morning.
"I'm not going to start drawing those lines in the sand today," Gibbs said.
Gibbs said that Obama's White House meeting with committee members Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is "not a negotiation," but instead a chance for the president to get an update on the legislation.
When asked what message Obama will have for the committee, Gibbs said: "Keep working."
Gibbs said even though Obama wants to see progress from the committee, he is not pressing its members to pass a bill by any certain date, even though his onetime desire for a bill before the August recess lies in waste.
On Thursday, Gibbs said the president "doesn't have any firm deadlines in his head."
"We want them to work; we want them to make progress," Gibbs told reporters.