New Deadline Set to Pass Health Care Bill

Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday to lament President Obama's latest deadline on health care reform.

On ABC's "This Week," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., coined names for the deals that helped net the votes of key senators: "The Cornhusker kickback, the Louisiana purchase, the Gator-aid."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pleaded on CBS, "Please, don't do this -- just, please!"

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, punctuated his words with a pointed index finger on NBC, saying, "You cannot ignore the fact we're talking about, the first time in history, sweeping social legislation will be passed, if they get their way, by a totally partisan vote, one-sixth of the American economy. If we do, that ... bar the door, I've got to tell you."

Prompting the GOP backlash was a new deadline: Ten days to health care reform.

In his weekly address, released Saturday, President Obama said he's asked "leaders in both of Houses of Congress to finish their work and schedule a vote in the next few weeks."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was more specific, saying the president wants the bills passed by both houses before he leaves the country for a March 18 trip. It is the latest of several deadlines that have come and gone.

On May 13, the president said the House planned to pass reform "by July 31st." A month later, it was "before the August recess," and on July 23, he said, "I want it done by the fall."

This time, many analysts say, he's within a few votes of getting it.

"This is the closest they've ever come," John Avlon, a writer for The Daily Beast and author of the book "Wingnuts," told ABC News. "The next two weeks going to be an all out push by the president, really to show a major win in the first two years of his presidency."

Yet even Obama administration officials acknowledge, if reform passes, it might well do so without a single GOP backer.

"We are hopeful that there will be Republican votes, but I'm not sure there will be," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

Goldman Sachs Report Cited as Resource

It's not clear the president has the votes. He needs 216 votes in the House, where some Democrats are saying no. In the Senate, Democrats are expected to try to pass the latest version with a bare majority of 51, instead of the 60 votes it usually takes to move legislation, through a controversial tactic called reconciliation. Republicans called that a recipe for partisan warfare.

In its effort to close the deal on health care reform, the Obama administration is highlighting a new Goldman Sachs report that recommends buying stock in health insurers United Healthcare and Cigna, noting that competition is down and rates are up.

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