House Democrats have a lot to be smiling about, but they’ll also likely be sitting on their thumbs for the next several weeks. After they passed a historic health care bill over the weekend, all eyes turned to the Senate, and specifically to Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose health care bill still hasn’t been unveiled.
The White House is still pushing for Congress to complete action on health care by years-end–last week White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel conveyed that message to Reid directly–but before that can happen, members want to see the bill, and before that can happen, the CBO has to weigh in on the package Reid sent their way last month.
There’s some speculation that CBO numbers could be available by the end of the week, but no guarantees, and members will almost certainly be back in their states for Veterans Day before anything official comes down the pipe.That means any legislative developments will have to wait until next week at the earliest–and with other holiday recesses looming, a year-end deadline will be difficult to meet.
Reid has suggested he may keep the Senate in session over the weekends through the end of the year. That would buy some time, but if a vote happens this year at all, it will come down to the wire.