On a conference call with reporters this morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that Democrats are “very close” to securing the 218 votes needed to pass health care legislation, but that Republican delay tactics, and perhaps even intra-Democratic disputes over abortion and immigration issues, could force a delay on final passage, potentially until Tuesday of next week.
“Assuming…that we follow the schedule we have set, my expectation is we will finish debate on the bill, on the Republican substitute, and will be voting on the rule and the substitute and the bill, and will have final passage…by 7 to 8 o’clock tomorrow night,” Hoyer said.However, if Republicans use procedural tactics to push the vote back, or to try and poison the bill, Hoyer wants them to be on notice that they could get called back for a vote on Sunday afternoon, Monday, or even Tuesday–the day before Veterans Day.
“Clearly, things happen, and delaying tactics can be employed…all I’ve done is make sure everybody understands that we’re going to complete this effort,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer acknowledged that some Democrats are still withholding support for the bill, hoping to prohibit federal funds from paying for abortion or health care for undocumented immigrants. But, he added, their concerns will be addressed, even if it means holding the vote later than expected.
“We are working on those now to make sure we have a construct that will facilitate the passage of the bill,” he said. “We’re very close.”