On MSNBC Informing of Progress on the Health Care Bill

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... he needs to put a demand when it comes to a strong health care bill. win the public option. to guarantee, guarantee competition to the private sector. tell waivering democrats that you're either with me or with the republicans. that's what you have to do. to it tonight on letterman. get your cell phones out, folks. maybe i'm wrong on this. i don't think i am. i want to know what you think. has president obama shown enough spine on health care? text a for yes, b for no to 6 2639. joining me now, house majority leader steny hoyer. great to have you with us tonight. appreciate your time. >> great to be with you. >> i'm not giving up. >> i hear that. >> i'm not giving up. strong views on this. i need to know, what is your response to john boehner, the minority leader in the house, saying it's dead, it's not going to pass? what do you say? >> he says it's not going to win. very frankly, if it doesn't win the losers are not going to be the democratic members of congress. it's going to be a american people, families priced out of the market, individuals who can't get insurance because they have pre-existing conditions. it's going to be the american public who's going to see prices spiral for government, for families and for individuals, small businesses. they're all going to lose. this is not an option. prices are driving people out of health care coverage. out of the confidence of being covered so they can get health care that they absolutely need. so when john boehner and mitch mcconnell and others say they are winning this battle, as mitch mcconnell said, very frankly if winning means we do not make sure that americans have health care coverage, that's not a win that i think the american people want. >> was the president direct enough yesterday in your opinion? did he get mission accomplished in dealing with all of the talking head shows to get his point across? are you comfortable with his performance? >> i think the president is -- one of his strengths is he projects thoughtfulness to the american people. i think he did that during the course of the campaign. i think he's doing it now. ed, he was at the university of maryland. there were 18,000 people there. it was on television as you know. he was very forceful about the need for a public option, to do exactly what you said it needed to do. give us competition and bring prices down. >> that's what i -- steny, that's what i find so amazing. he goes on the stump and he riles up the crowd, says all the right things. then when he comes back inside the beltway and has to talk to his own party he's not as demands in person or in interviews as he is to a crowd. i just can't get away from the contrast on this. now, you've got boehner saying, well, it's dead, it's not going to pass. >> i think boehner's wrong. i think it is going to pass. we're working very hard on it. i've been working hard on it just today. we're going to be working hard on it tomorrow and the next day and the day after until we get this passed. clearly, ed, as you and i both know, the american public is very conflicted, they're very worried that what they have now which they feel some degree of confidence in, they know the prices are going up, they know they're going up very fast and they're going up so fast they may be priced out of the market. nevertheless, they have been made to be fearful about what the options are. it's very important that we inform the american people. there have been too many people trying to incite the american people. what the president, ed, tries to do and he did during the course of his campaign was try to inform people. he did that yesterday, i thought, in a thoughtful manner. you thought it was not tough or strong enough. he's been strong the public option is absolutely essential to bring prices down. >> you have four out of five bills in the house and senate, call for a combination. how can the president walk from that? how can he make the demand right now? if he's not counting on republican votes. heck, let's go for the jugular, let's do whatever we want to do on this deal. if this was the republicans in power that's the way they would play ball. >> they would play ball to the extent they had the votes to do so. that's our concern. we have to make sure we have the necessary votes in the house and the senate to pass not only a public option but to pass the bill as well and that's what we're working on. >> have you operated in good faith? i mean, they're claiming you have to hit the reset button and bipartisanship hasn't been there. i need to hear from you tonight throughout all of this, mr. majority leader steny hoyer with us, have you been a good faith negotiator and listened to the republicans? >> ed, i think the answer to that is yes. mr. beau staunny who gave the response to the president's speech when he gave a speech to the joint session of congress, mr. bu staunny said he believed we were 80% in agreement. ...