Gibbs: Obama willing to give a couple of days on deadline

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Thursday backed off next week's deadline for healthcare reform to pass the House, saying President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaReport: FCC chair to push for complete repeal of net neutrality Right way and wrong way Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle despite recent leak MORE would be pleased if it passes a day or two after that.

Gibbs and Democratic leaders have been at odds this week over the date for passage, which coincides with the president's departure to Indonesia and Australia.

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"If it takes a couple of days extra... we'll be happy to have it pass then," Gibbs said. "Even if [Obama's] already gone."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other Democrats have pushed back on the March 18 deadline Gibbs put forward last week.

Even as he acknowledged a "disconnect" between the White House and Congress earlier this week, Gibbs insisted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidVirginia was a wave election, but without real change, the tide will turn again Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots Boehner confronted Reid after criticism from Senate floor MORE are just as eager to pass reform as the president.