White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met for about a half-hour Tuesday night with House Democrats as lawmakers try to craft legislation to reform the country's health care reform system.

 

"The goal is to get a bill done and signed into law," said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

 

Emanuel is noticeably absent from President Obama's trip to Russia this week. Sources indicate he intends to work with skeptical lawmakers this week to finalize one of the administration's most weighty policy goals.

 

"Rahm is so connected here and to the administration that he holds a lot of swing," said Rep. David Wu (D-OR), who attended the meeting.

 

Emanuel previously served as a Democratic Congressman from Illinois before joining the Obama Administration.

 

Lawmakers asked Emanuel questions about the cost of reforming health care and expressed concern about keeping a so-called "public option" in the legislation.

 

A public option refers to allowing Americans to purchase health care insurance from the federal government.

 

After Emanuel finished meeting with rank-and-file Democrats, he adjourned to a closed-door session with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

 

"It was a robust discussion" said Elshami.

 

Congressional Democrats hope to approve a health care bill before recessing for the summer in August.