Lieberman's Muscle: Senate Democrats Struggle for Health Care Compromise

"The important thing is I'm for health care reform and if we get together we're going to deliver a health care reform bill that will provide the ability to get health insurance for 30 million people who don't have it now. We're going to regulate the insurance companies and we're going to cut the costs, that's tremendous," he said.

"I'm hopeful and I'm waiting to hear back and this is a very respectful process of negotiation going on," he said.

Lieberman has vowed repeatedly in the past he would not vote for a health care bill with a public option.

The latest version of the bill was crafted by a small group of 10 centrist and progressive Democrats, and sent last week to the Congressional Budget Office. Reid, D-Nev., has yet to release details to Democrats and Republicans alike. The CBO could release their estimate of the health care costs as early as Tuesday.

"On the basic bill, about 2,000 pages, we all know what's in it. But on this -- on these compromises ... they agreed that they were interesting enough to send to get analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office. Sen. Reid has decided that, if you let them out, they'll get mauled," Lieberman said.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., whose amendment to restrict federal funding for abortion services failed, said he wouldn't vote for the bill with its previous language on abortion services, but said that was still being worked out.

"I do know that there are some who are, right now, trying to find language that might be compatible with the Stupak language in the house. That's a tall order for people. And I'm not prescribing ahead what they may be able to do," Nelson said on CBS.

Nelson said he would reserve final judgment until after he saw the cost estimates.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said that until the Senate got the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, they were all on hold.

"I have to be assured that this is going to bring down the deficit and it's going to bring down health care costs for most Missouri families," McCaskill said on "Fox News Sunday."

Republicans have seized on the discord.

"They can't get themselves together," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on CBS.

"I think they're in serious trouble on this, and the core problem is the American people do not want us to pass this," McConnell said. "What we really need to do is to stop and start over and go step by step to deal with the cost issue, which is what the American people thought this was all about."

But Sen. John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said despite Democrats' differences, he was confident they would come together in the end.

"We have tremendous momentum," Rockefeller said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"You have to look at this most important piece of legislation since Social Security and you have to look at the whole thing. It gets harder and harder to stick on one individual subject and say, I don't like that; therefore I'm going to vote against the bill."

President Obama visited the Senate two Saturdays ago, and sources from the meeting say he delivered that very same message.

"The closer you get, the more you have to look at the whole bill, the more likely you are to say, I have to do this for the nation," Rockefeller said.

The question now is whether Senate liberals would agree, and, following that, if liberals in the House -- many of whom have said they would vote "no" on any bill without a public option -- will go along as well.

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