The $100 Million Vote: Harry Reid Woos Skeptical Democrats

If Democrats are ultimately able to pass a bill through the Congress, however, which would be unlikely until next year, it would be a melded version of the Senate and House bills and would be closer to 2,000 pages than a 4,000-page amalgam.

But Republicans have taken the two roughly 2,000-page stacks of paper and placed them one on top the other, creating a 4,000-page pedestal of paper on the Senate floor.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., comfortably put his elbow on the stack while giving a floor speech this morning.

"So we've got, we've got a little reading to do, a little work to do," Alexander said of the bill. "Here is my early verdict in terms of the Thanksgiving season. This is the same turkey that you saw in August and it's not going to taste any better in November. It's not much different than what worried you in August. In fact, it's gotten a little bit worse."

Democratic Leaders Confident About Health Care Legislation

Despite the GOP opposition and skepticism from some Democrats about certain provisions in the bill, Democratic leaders have projected optimism.

Reid today, at a press conference with supporters, said the bill would "save lives, save money and save Medicare."

The legislation "is not just a milestone in a journey of a few months or a few years. We have been working to reform health care since the first half of the last century," Reid added.

On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, seemed to have tears in his eyes as Democratic leaders unveiled the bill.

"There's one sign that defines this moment," Harkin said.

"It is like this," added Harkin, flashing a "v". "Its victory, and that's what we're going to have on health care."

President Obama released a statement Wednesday calling the unveiling of Reid's bill a "critical milestone in the health reform effort."

"Our goal has been to enact legislation that offers stability and security to those who have insurance and affordable coverage to those who don't, and that lowers costs for families, businesses and governments across the country," the statement read. "I was particularly pleased to see that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and as much as $650 billion in the decade following, saving hundreds of billions while extending coverage to 31 million more Americans."

The cost of the Senate legislation is lower than that of the bill passed by the House on Nov. 8, which is expected to cost $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The Senate Democrats' bill also meets Obama's goal of keeping the cost around $900 billion, and achieves more than $1 trillion in cost savings.

The White House and Democratic lawmakers have been working closely for weeks to craft the legislation.

Vice President Joe Biden spent most of the day Wednesday on Capitol Hill, meeting with Reid and working from his own office off the Senate floor.

Moderate Democrats who have expressed their reservations with the broad strokes, including Landrieu, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, also met with Reid.

The cloture vote, expected this Saturday, on whether to even start debating the bill will be the first test of the support for Reid's health care bill. Even Reid is not sure right now if he has all the votes.

Americans Divided Over Health Care

Even as Democrats trudge along with their health care overhaul plan, skepticism amid the U.S. public abounds.

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