Obama to sign healthcare bill on Tuesday
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will sign his healthcare reform bill into law Tuesday and travel Thursday to promote the plan in Iowa, a farming state split over the overhaul of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system.
The landmark legislation narrowly passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a year-long political battle faces unanimous Republican opposition and promised legal challenges by Republican politicians in several states.
Obama will sign the bill at the White House and then attend a post-signing event with legislators at the Department of the Interior, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
Obama will go to Iowa City, where he first outlined his healthcare plan in 2007, Gibbs told a press briefing.
Obama will speak repeatedly about healthcare during the months ahead, including campaigning for Democrats before November's congressional elections, Gibbs said.
"I assume the president will talk about healthcare for a long time," he said.
Opinion polls show many Americans oppose the healthcare reforms or are confused about them.
Republicans said they would fight a package of changes designed by House Democrats to improve the bill, which will be taken up this week in the Senate.
The top legal officials in at least 11 states said they would file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the overhaul and contending it infringes on state sovereignty.
Gibbs said he did not expect those suits to be successful.
Reform opponents said they would work to defeat any legislator who backed the healthcare plan in the elections, in which more than one third of seats in the Senate and all of the seats in the House are up for grabs.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Chris Wilson)
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