Reid: No Senate Vote Before August Recess
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says the Senate will not vote on health care reform before leaving for its summer recess Aug. 8, shattering the president's early timeline that called for bill passage before then, The New York Times reports.
"Mr. Reid, speaking at a weekly news conference, said he expected a bipartisan deal on health care legislation to emerge from the Senate Finance Committee before the summer recess begins, and that he would spend the break merging that bill with legislation previously approved by the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions."
Reid had insisted that the Senate would vote on the package before the break. "Mr. Reid's remarks came after a contentious meeting earlier on Thursday among Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee." Several Democrats have begun raising concerns that Mr. Baucus, the chairman, is conceding on too many points in his effort to negotiate a deal with Republicans on the panel. "House Democrats voiced their own disagreements at a similarly heated caucus meeting on Thursday" (Herszenhorn, 7/23).
The Washington Post reports on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her hedge on the timing question, saying Wednesday she had the votes. The House leaves a week earlier than the Senate for its recess: "But today, she left open the possibility of bringing the legislation to the floor in September. 'I'm not afraid of August. It's just a month,' she said, remaining confident the bill would clear the House eventually. 'We will take the bill to the floor when it is ready'" (Murray, 7/23).