Reid Says Senate Will Hold First Health Bill Vote On Saturday
Reuters reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday the Senate will vote Saturday on a procedural move to begin debate on the Senate's health care reform bill. "'The finish line is in sight,' ... Reid said. 'I'm confident we'll cross it soon.'" Reuters reports that Reid "dodged" questions about whether he has the votes to pass the motion to begin debate. "If the Senate agrees to take up the bill, the debate is expected to begin on Nov. 30, after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday next week, and last for at least three weeks" (Whitesides, 11/19).
The Associated Press reports that Reid said at a Senate Democrat rally Thursday afternoon "that the $848 billion, 10-year bill he unveiled hours earlier will save lives, save money and save Medicare" (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/19).
Politico: "Reid also said he would not use a procedural maneuver known as reconciliation to pass the bill - a shift from previous statements when he would say all options are on the table. 'I'm not using reconciliation,' he said flatly" (Budoff Brown, 11/19).
The White House issued a statement applauding the Senate measure.
But GOP leaders offered quick criticism.House Minority Leader John Boehner called it "the same nonsense that passed the House," The Hill reports. Boehner said Reid's bill has a lower price tag because benefits start a year later. "This is over a trillion dollars. The American people have soundly rejected this," he said (Hooper, 11/19).
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also made his displeasure with the bill known, Fox News reports: "'This is a lousy bill that's going to cost American taxpayers like mad for the rest of our lives,' (Hatch), a fierce critic of the health care legislation, told Fox News on Thursday" (11/19).