President Obama hosted a Rose Garden reception for members of Congress at the White House, praising leaders of both parties for passing a permanent solution to the “Doc Fix” for Medicare.
During a speech at the reception, Obama recalled being annoyed at the annual patch job required by Congress to keep Medicare doctors from facing pay cuts.
“All of us said again and again, let’s just try to fix this once and for all,” he said, referring to his time in the Senate. “And this time, we finally did. No more temporary patches.”
Obama signed the bill last week, but hosted a White House reception to celebrate the legislation yesterday evening.
Presidential Republican candidates Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida voted against the bill in the Senate. Cruz denounced the bill for adding billions to the deficit while institutionalizing and expanding Obamacare. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is also running for president, voted for the bill.
During the reception, Obama said he was “really excited” about the bill, praising members of congress for coming together in a bi-partisan way. Part of the reason he decided to host a reception, he explained, was to bring everyone together to celebrate.
“I figured we could all still enjoy each other’s company — because we did not just settle for fixing an old formula; we replaced it with a better one,” he said.
Speaker John Boehner was present at the reception as well as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA).
In his speech, Obama singled out Boehner for taking the lead on the issue.
“This would not have happened without the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and we very much appreciate his leadership on this,” he said.
But the president couldn’t resist teasing Republicans about Obamacare.
“I shouldn’t say this with John Boehner here, but that’s one way that this legislation builds on the Affordable Care Act,” he said referring to what he called cost-effective funding measures.
“But let’s put that aside for a second,” he added as the crowd laughed.
Obama basked in the bi-partisan glow, encouraging Republicans and Democrats to continue working together.
“I just want to thank everybody for showing that Republicans and Democrats can come together and put aside partisanship for something important — not just on small things, not just on the must-dos, but on things that actually make the country work better,” he said.
Pelosi and Boehner were spotted on camera exchanging a friendly kiss during the event.
White House senior aide Valerie Jarrett and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell were also present.