White House thinks Baucus bill will change

Despite months of anticipation, the White House on Wednesday stopped well short of endorsing Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor MORE's (D-Mont.) healthcare bill.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the release of Baucus's Senate Finance Committee healthcare legislation — the last of five committees to unveil a proposal — moved the legislative process along, but President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaModerate or left of center — which is better for Democrats in 2020? Obama: Countries facing severe effects of climate change offer 'moral call to rest of the world' Democrats' self-inflicted diversity vulnerability MORE still thinks the bill will change.


Gibbs said that while much of Baucus's bill, which has been assailed by Democrats and Republicans, does track with Obama's overall goals for reform, he doesn't "think this is a mirror of what the president has talked about."

The White House expects that "there will be a continued legislative process that will tweak and change legislation, as there always is."

"I don't think the president looks at today as the end," Gibbs said. "I think Republicans, certainly, on the committee will offer amendments to change the bill."

Despite the fierce criticism from Republicans, who say Baucus's bill will raise taxes on the middle class, Gibbs said Obama remains hopeful that some Republicans will come to support reform legislation.
"We hope in the end that they'll hear what their constituents are saying about the need to address the skyrocketing costs of healthcare reform," Gibbs said.

Gibbs disputed the belief espoused by some Democrats that Baucus's attempts to get a bipartisan bill, which put the White House well past its August deadline for bills to pass the Senate and House, were a waste of time.

"I don't think the president looks back and thinks we should have done things differently. This is all part of the long process," Gibbs said. "And I don't think that Sen. Baucus or President Obama or others asking Republicans to be involved, to give us their ideas, is time poorly spent at all. I think the American people want to hear both sides' ideas on this.