Even as Democrats face increasing heat from Republicans for their health care overhaul bill, House leaders are continuing to push ahead in the hopes of passing a bill by this weekend.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters today she is waiting on numbers from the Congressional Budget Office analyzing the cost of President Obama's health care bill, which proposes "fixes" to the Senate health care bill passed on Christmas Eve. But she reiterated that Democratic leaders will continue to fight for the passage of the health care bill.
"We will do what is necessary to pass a health care bill," said Pelosi, D-Calif.
Tea party protestors gathered once again on Capitol Hill today to denounce the bill. Holding signs and chanting "Kill The Bill," the riled-up attendees took their protests into the halls of Congress, even though many lawmakers were not in their offices.
"It seems they're hiding," said Bonnie Oleksa of Plymouth, Ohio, who tried to speak to Ohio Democratic Rep. Zack Space but was not allowed to. "We spent 10 hours on a bus to talk to our representatives and I think it's a shame they don't want to hear from the people they represent, the people they work for."
Andrew Ricci, a spokesman for Space, later issued a statement to ABC News, saying that the congressman has listened to his constituents on the health-care issue but that Oleksa does not live in the area he represents.
"Congressman Space respects the level of passion on both sides of this issue and certainly welcomes the input of his constituents," Ricci said.
Congressional staffers were put on notice to expect protests in the corridors of the Capitol today as activists descended on Washington for this week's raucous final battle over health care legislation.
"You are here to say, the American people don't want a government takeover of health care," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told the crowd.
"Here we are, we are at the bottom of the ninth. We've won every inning so far, so that should feel pretty good," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told the charged crowd. "All we have to do is keep this up until Saturday. President Obama delayed his trip... so why don't we give him a farewell party when he goes to Indonesia and let him know we do not want this bill passed, we want to kill the bill."
Separately, House Republican leaders today unveiled the National Republican Congressional Committee's campaign, dubbed Code Red, targeted at wavering Democrats unsure of whether they will support the health care bill.
"We want Americans to go Code Red," House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said at a news conference today. "This is the biggest vote that most members will ever cast. You can't hide from it. And the American people will never accept some trickery to try to make this bill become law."
Interest groups on both sides have ramped up the pressure and have hit the airwaves. More than $10 million is expected to be spent on ads this week alone.
The White House has set a deadline of this weekend for the House to pass the bill, before the president departs for his international trip Sunday. But it remains unclear whether Pelosi has the votes she needs, even though she insisted Monday they will have the votes by the end of the week.