White House may ask for delayed recess if reform lags

The White House on Monday said President Obama would consider asking Congress to delay the summer break if he hasn't seen sufficient progress on healthcare reform by the August recess.

Hours after Obama told reporters that he is "going to get this done," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that it is unlikely legislation will be finalized before the recess.

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"Maybe," said a shrugging Gibbs. "I don't know."

He added: "I don't think anyone was under the illusion the whole process would be wrapped up by the beginning of August."

Gibbs said that the president would, however, like to see a reform bill pass either or both the House and Senate before members leave — and if they do not, that the president would consider asking the leadership to delay their vacation.

Obama summoned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to join Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) at the White House for a meeting Monday afternoon.

Baucus and Rangel are chairmen of the committees that oversee tax policy and Medicare and Medicaid, and Rangel on Friday proposed a controversial surtax on the wealthy to raise $540 million to pay for healthcare reform.

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