Still Waiting on the CBO…

Mar 17, 2010 5:05pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein and Dean Norland reports: Another day is slipping away on Capitol Hill without the long-awaited cost estimates on the health care bill from the Congressional Budget Office.

This afternoon, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters that the bill will be brought to the House floor “as soon as it’s ready to be brought to the floor — soon as we have the CBO numbers that we can have confidence in.”

Hoyer, D-Md., added: “And I would say that certainly Saturday and Sunday are possibilities.”

The release of a CBO cost estimate for the Senate-passed health care bill plus the package of “fixes” being negotiated will allow Democrats to release text of the legislation. That starts a 72-hour clock before the House can vote — in keeping with a transparency pledge issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

President Obama is scheduled to leave for his foreign trip at 10 am ET Sunday — meaning a CBO estimate needs to come by tomorrow morning for the president to be on US soil when the House passes health care reform. That is, of course, unless the White House changes the president’s schedule once again.

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