Obama Delays Asia Trip as Dems Wrangle Health Care Votes

Speaking volumes about how Democrats lack the votes to pass overhauling health care legislation, President Obama has delayed next week's trip to Indonesia and Australia.

The president was scheduled to leave Thursday, which is the deadline the White House gave Congress to finish negotiations and pass a bill.

But the White House has confirmed that Obama will leave for Asia three days later, on Sunday, March 21, and without his wife and daughters, as originally planned.

White House officials and congressional Democratic sources expressed confidence that the compromise House-Senate legislation would ultimately pass, but as of now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., does not have the votes.

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"We'll take whatever time is required for us to pass the legislation," Pelosi told reporters today.

She needs 216 votes -- a majority of the House's 431 members -- to pass the Senate bill and changes to it. Anti-abortion Democrats, led by Rep. Bart Stupak, D- Mich., have said they would not support the Senate bill because it has less restrictive language on abortion than the House bill.

Democratic congressional leaders had asked the president to delay his trip until after the health care overhaul vote so he could make a personal appeal to House Democrats to vote for legislation that has consumed so much of his presidency.

"I'm delighted the president will be here for the passage of the bill," Pelosi said. "It's going to be historic."

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Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a key figure in the ongoing negotiations, is facing a personal health care crisis of his own.

Reid's wife and daughter are recovering from a car accident Thursday that left the women hospitalized in serious condition.

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Sen. Reid's wife, Landra, 69, suffered a broken nose, back and neck. Daughter Lana Reid Barringer, 48, has a neck injury and facial lacerations. Both are "conscious, can feel their extremities, and according to doctors, their injuries are nonlife threatening," a Reid spokesman said.

The incident put Democrats' intense legislative negotiations temporarily on hold Thursday as Reid rushed to the hospital to be by their sides. But Reid soon after returned to the Capitol; one sign that negotiations among House and Senate Democrats have become make-or-break.

"If Nancy Pelosi had the votes, they'd have already voted on this," conservative commentator Laura Ingraham said on "Good Morning America" today. "Obviously, the president, he's put it all on the line here. It's not going to be good for Democrats, no matter what they do."

But Democrats insisted they have the will and the votes to pass a bill soon.

"We're in the home stretch," Democratic strategist Donna Brazille told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "There's no question the Democrats will round up the votes."

The White House had set a deadline for the House to pass the Senate bill by March 18, when the president was originally scheduled to leave for an overseas trip to Indonesia and Australia.

The White House has since backed off its deadline.

"Our hope is to get this done as soon as possible," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday. "If it ... takes a couple extra days after a year, it takes a couple of extra days."

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