At this hour, the President will sign the health care legislation in the East Room of the White House. You can watch this on C-SPAN.
Multiple members of the Congress and the cabinet are joining the President for this ceremony. Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, is also in attendance.
The President will also speak about the health care law at the Interior Department, to an larger audience, around noon eastern.
Consider this a semi-liveblog.
…It is super-exciting to liveblog things like “Bobby Rush is checking his Blackberry.”
…It does look like the entire Democratic Congressional caucus is in the room. A bunch of them were taking pictures in front of the podium before. It’s like liberal Woodstock, man… Rosa DeLauro’s starting a mud pile with Lois Capps… it’s a free concert from now on.
…They’ve started a “Fire it up, ready to go” chant as Biden and Obama come out to applause. Biden starts by saying “This is a historic day.”
…Biden says “You are literally about to to make history.” He just couldn’t refrain from using the word literally, could he?
…I find it amusing that Bobby Rush is sitting dead center in the front row, presumably mouthing “I beat you” to Obama throughout the ceremony.
…Obama admits all the delays were intentional to line up the bill signing with the turning of spring.
…This is the first stage of “selling the bill,” the first of many large events designed to emphasize immediate benefits and the importance of reform.
…It’s worth pointing out that the exchanges, the centerpiece of this entire reform, will serve less than 10% of the population, about 25 million individuals, by 2019. However, it is set to expand and bring in more and more business in future years beyond that.
…Obama said that members of Congress took their lumps on this bill, and someone in the audience yelled out “Yes we did!” People just love to heckle this President, no matter your political party.
…The President pays tribute to “one of the best Speakers the House has ever had, Nancy Pelosi.” She is scary good at her job.
…Just for contrast, here’s a photo of the GOP’s press conference today, just before the signing ceremony.
…Obama says he’s signing the bill for his mother, who struggled with insurance companies at the end of her life. He mentions John Dingell, Ted Kennedy, and others. “Our presence here today is remarkable and improbable.”
…”We have enshrined the basic principle that everyone should have some basic security about their health care.” The key part of the future, it seems to me, is making the government live up to what Obama just said.
…He’s signing the bill now.