Obama to Address Congress as Approval Slips

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama heads to Capitol Hill Wednesday night for an address to a joint session of Congress as support for his health care reform plan continues to slip.
    
A new poll shows 52 percent of Americans now disapprove of the president's handling of the issue and he still needs to convince members of his own party.

Lawmakers, especially Democrats, are still feeling the August heat and Rep. Tom Perriello, D- Va., is one of them.
    
The freshman held 21 town hall meetings during the recess, which is more than any other congressman.

CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody gives his analysis and explains how high the stakes are for the president. Click play to watch the interview.   

If he had to take a vote on the house bill Wednesday, Perriello says, "It would be a no."

"But I think we are getting much closer to yes," he added.

His concerns are shared by other Democrats with cost for families, too much concentrated government control and public funding for abortion.

"The House bill is silent on public funding for abortion," Rep. Bart Stupak said. "The courts have always ruled if Congress does not explicitly state: no public funding for abortion then abortion is included as a covered benefit."

Congressman Stupak is leading a group of Democrats threatening to block the bill from the floor if the speaker does not allow an up or down vote on an amendment that blocks the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.
    
And even if that happens Stupak is not promising he will vote "yay" on the bill.
    
Like some of his colleagues he is looking for answers.

"Why do we need it?" Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., asked. "Why is it in our national and personal best interests? Whose covered?  Whose not covered?  How do you pay for it?  What factors does he want to see in a final bill? I think those five things the president has to explain to the American people."

President Obama said he wants lawmakers to know he is open to new ideas, but Republicans are not expecting any breakthroughs.
    
"I hope he'll say that we should throw this HR 3200 health care, government takeover bill in the ash can and start over again with a bi-partisan effort," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said. "I don't expect to hear that."

Louisiana Republican Charles Boustany is delivering his party's response. As a heart surgeon for more than 20 years, he lends credibility to his critique.

"I have deep concerns about most of the provisions in this bill," Boustany said. "And I think we have to get back to the drawing board."

No matter what the president says Wednesday night, some lawmakers predict it will be December before a final agreement is reached.
    
While long drafting processes usually lead to pork and confusion, congressman Perriello predicts time will only improve this legislation.

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.