Dem Rep. DeLauro: Still on Track for Weekend Vote; ‘We are Going to Get to 216′

By Matt Loffman

Mar 17, 2010 1:42pm

ABC News' Rick Klein reports: Health care reform legislation remains in an odd sort of Washington limbo today, with the Congressional Budget Office still reviewing drafts of proposed "fixes" to the Senate-passed health care bill. On ABC’s “Top Line” today, a leading Democrat on health care issues, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, said that House leaders are still on track to pass health care “by the end of this weekend.” But she said she couldn’t guarantee that the CBO would return its evaluation by the close of business today — a problematic timeline, given Democrats’ commitment to have the bill posted online for 72 hours before taking a vote. Democrats want to pass the bill before President Obama leaves on a foreign trip Sunday. “We are all in the hands of CBO, and we are waiting for their report,” DeLauro, D-Conn., told us. There’s no chance of House action on the bill without a final cost estimate and analysis from the CBO, she said. “No, we must have the report back from CBO — which we will have,” DeLauro said. When the bill does come up for a vote, she said she has no doubt that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have the votes she needs: “We are going to get to 216 — there isn’t any question in my mind about that,” DeLauro said. She also said that the House vote will be — and should be — perceived as a vote on the Senate health care bill, whatever the procedural machinations involved. “We are going to vote on the Senate bill — don’t get hung up on the process kick here. It is — we are going to pass the Senate bill, it will be amended and corrected as we do most bills in this House.” The bill itself, she said, will be “game-changing for people in this country. It’s about being — having a health care [plan] that is affordable. It is about holding insurance companies accountable, where they can now willy-nilly say no to you on insurance, no on a preexisting condition. If you have insurance, they can tell you you are too sick to be able to get insurance. All of that is gone.” “When my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to talk process,” she added, “that means they have no substance and are not concerned about making sure the people of this great nation have health insurance that they can afford when they get sick.” We also checked in with Time’s Karen Tumulty, who helped us unpack the vote-counting operations in the House — and track some of the shifting rhetoric on procedural questions in Congress.

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