Dem Leaders Say Health Care Bill Will Pass Next Week, Give No Details On What’s In It

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emerged from tonight’s Democratic caucus meeting all smiles as he approached waiting microphones with several caucus leaders in tow. But in a short press conference where he took no questions, Reid and the other Democrats gave little information about what was accomplished in the emergency party meeting.

“This is like a steeplechase race with a couple of hurdles left,” Reid said. “Democrats are not going to let the American people down.”

Reid said a health care bill will pass the Senate next week, but he didn’t say what would be in it. Neither did anyone else who spoke.When Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) took the microphone, he expressed the same optimism about passing a bill. But he suggested the reforms he says will pass next week won’t be the ones many health care reform advocates were hoping for.

“It’s always easier to envision the bill you want than it is to pass the bill you want,” Dodd said.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) highlighted what could be the new talking point about the Democratic reform bill. “This is the biggest tax cut since 2001,” he said, referring to the tax credits and subsidies included in the legislation. He too was confident that something related to health care reform will pass soon.

“I know we’re going to pass health care insurance reform for all Americans,” Baucus said.

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