Party Leaders, Key Lawmakers Speculate On The Health Reform Schedule
"Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), two key moderates, met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Wednesday morning - their second meeting with the leader this week as a part of their ongoing effort to shape the final Senate health care reform bill," Roll Call reports.
Although Democratic leaders were aiming to vote on reform legislation by Thanksgiving, Snowe said, "That would be optimistic." In response to a question about whether a final vote could occur before December, she said, "That would be my sense" (Drucker, 10/21).
According to Politico's Live Pulse, Snowe also said, "I think the issue is that making sure everyone has the opportunity to express themselves through the form of amendments, I think that's key. ... because everybody, certainly on the minority side should have the ability to offer amendments. I got a sense that [the majority leader] is very much disposed towards that." Snowe also echoed the Republican theme that Democrats are rushing the health overhaul. "But the criticism will likely hold more weight coming from swing-vote Snowe, who Democrats have gone out of their way to accommodate throughout the process" (Frates, 10/21).
Meanwhile, on the House side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters today that the House would approve health care reform by Thanksgiving, according to MSNBC. "We're on schedule, and we're pleased from our standpoint that we will have a bill passed well before Thanksgiving -- and hopefully in time for it to be signed with the work done with the Senate to be signed before Thanksgiving but certainly this year." But MSNBC also notes less optimistic comments from last week from other members of the House leadership and that "even the most dedicated Democrats will say privately that it is a long-shot for health-care reform to be passed through the House and Senate by Thanksgiving" (Russert, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.