Obama To Visit House Dems To Rally Support For Saturday Health Bill Vote
"In a last-minute exercise of presidential hand-holding, President Obama plans to travel to Capitol Hill on Friday morning to meet with House Democrats, one day before they vote on his highest domestic priority: a bill to overhaul the nation's health care system," The New York Times reports. "White House officials said the president wanted to address any lingering doubts about the legislation in the House, where liberal Democrats are concerned that the bill's so-called public option - a government-backed insurance plan - is too weak, and where conservative Democrats are uneasy about whether the legislation would permit federal money to be used to pay for abortion" (Stolberg, 11/5).
Meanwhile, support for the House bill could also be bolstered by the arrival of two new Democratic congressmen, CNN reports. "Representative-elect John Garamendi [D-Calif.] will be sworn in by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday afternoon." On Friday, "Representative-elect Bill Owens [D-N.Y.] is expected to be officially sworn in as a member of Congress." At that point, " the House will be back at full strength, with 435 members. Thanks to their victories in Tuesday's special elections, the Democrats will increase their majority by one, and will hold a 258 to 177 advantage in the chamber." The tally on Saturday is expected to be close and 218 votes "will be needed to pass the bill" (Steinhauser and Walsh, 11/5).