Healthcare reform vote Saturday may be delayed as Democratic leaders work to make sure they have the necessary 218 votes - including more conservative members of their own party.
On the eve of a historic healthcare vote, House Democrats are scaling back expectations that the legislation must be wrapped up in the next 24 hours.
“Sunday afternoon we will have available to us, and I’ve also indicated to members that Monday and Tuesday are a possibility,” said House majority leader Steny Hoyer in a conference call with reporters Friday. “My expectation is that we will not need it and we’ll be done tomorrow night.”
Republicans have procedural options to delay the vote and are not tipping their hand on plans to use them. The mood in the House Rules Committee -- Republicans made a final pitch to have amendments considered in debate on the bill -- was not conciliatory.
But the major 11th-hour issue for the Democratic majority isn’t feuds with Republicans, it’s repairing rifts in their own ranks on issues ranging from abortion and illegal immigration to fiscal restraint.
As many as 40 Democrats are balking at backing the bill without stronger language to ensure that federal funds not be used to pay for abortion services.
“We don’t think that’s what the bill does. But we want to make sure that members are comfortable with that reality that they are not funding through this bill abortions,” said Rep. Hoyer. House Democrats are planning to add compromise legislation to the rule on the bill to be debated on the floor.