From NBC's Athena Jones
WASHINGTON -- President Obama said Congressional Budget Office estimates showed the health-care bill would have a have a significant impact on the deficit, citing that as one more reason to support the legislation.
The CBO estimates the bill would cost $940 billion over a decade and that it would cut the deficit by $130 billion in the first 10 years and some $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years.
"That makes this legislation the most significant effort to reduce deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s," Obama said during a Rose Garden signing ceremony for a jobs bill. "This is but one virtue of a reform that will bring new accountability to the insurance industry and greater economic security for all Americans, so I urge every member of Congress to consider this as they prepare for their important vote this weekend.
The White House expects the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate's version of the health-care bill this weekend, the first step in the process of getting it to his desk. The president has delayed his trip to Indonesia and Australia by three days and he and White House aides have been working with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to wrangle the 216 votes needed to ensure House passage before his scheduled departure on Sunday.
Obama used today's ceremony to thank members of Congress from both parties for working together to pass legislation aimed at putting Americans back to work -- a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation at a time of fierce partisanship. The Senate vote on the jobs bill was 68-29 with 11 Republicans voting in favor. Republicans are unanimously opposed to the health-care bill, however, and have been highly critical of Democratic tactics for pushing it through the House.
"I'm also gratified that over a dozen Republicans agreed that the need for this jobs bill was urgent, and that they were willing to break out of the partisan morass to help us take this forward step for the American people," he said. "I hope this is a prelude to further cooperation in the days and months to come, as we continue to work on digging our way out of the recession and rebuilding our economy in a way that works for all Americans and not just some Americans."
While acknowledging the $17.6 billion jobs bill was "by no means enough" and that more must be done to jump-start hiring in the private sector, the president said the measures included in the bill would help. Under the legislation, businesses that hire someone who has been unemployed for at least two months would have their payroll taxes forgiven, companies would be allowed to write off investments they make in equipment this year and municipal bonds would be used to increase investment in schools and clean energy projects. The bill includes infrastructure investments aimed at boosting hiring in the construction industry.