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Fox Has Learned: President to Address Joint Session of Congress Wednesday

Fox News has learned the President will speak before a Joint Session of Congress Wednesday, Sept 9 on the topic of health care reform.

Two senior administration officials confirm to Fox President Obama will attempt to reframe his health care message.

Before the President left for his vacation, I reported on Special Report and Fox Report that White House aides were advising sympathetic Democrats that it would re-launch or attempt to reframe the health care debate when Congress returned to Washington.

Efforts are now actively underway to achieve that goal.

"We are entering a new phase driven in part by the actions of some in the GOP," said one senior adviser, referring to GOP Senate Finance Committee negotiators Charles Grassley of Iowa and Mike Enzi of Wyoming. "They are essentially walking away from the table."

Advisers say the President's focus will be to unify Democrats around the four committee bills now pending in Congress, three in the House and one in the Senate. This strategy appears to rule out any break-through by the so-called Gang of Six negotiators on the Senate Finance Committee.

"Now is the time to begin to pull together the various strands and solutions from the four bills that have been marked up and other proposals," one adviser said. "Basically all the cards are on the table."

As for reports about the demise of the government-financed move into private insurance markets, known as the public option, White House advisers insist it remains in the mix. "The President thinks it's the best way to achieve his ultimate goal - choice and competition - but certainly not the only way to get there."

As for the when and the where of the next Obama push for health care, the White House remains coy.

"The President is considering all of his options on how to advance the debate and get reform passed, this includes possibly laying out a more specific vision," the adviser said. "No decisions have been made, though."

The reality for the White House, though, is the only way to shake up the debate is to either declare a fight to the finish on behalf of the public option, or to take it out of the mix.

"This speech only has to be two paragraphs long," said a Democratic strategist who asked not to be named. "Two paragraphs saying you're fighting for the public option no matter what. Or two paragraphs saying you're setting it aside to focus on other priorities. Everything else has been said before and heard before. Over and over. If the White House doesn't say one or the other, I'm not sure another speech can make much difference."