Dems Still Lack Votes to Pass Bill
House Democrats don't have the votes to pass health care legislation yet, but White House aides say they are confident it will happen.
House Democratic Whip James Clyburn, who is responsible for counting votes, said Sunday he had been working all weekend to round up "yes" votes. Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if Democrats had enough votes, he replied: "No, we don't have them as of this morning."
White House aides David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs predicted lawmakers will approve the 10-year, $950 billion bill. "I think we will have the votes to pass this," Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union." ''It's a struggle, but I believe we are moving in the right direction."
Republicans, meanwhile, warned that the health care debate is worsening the partisan divide in Congress. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, was among those decrying the legislative maneuvers Democrats may use to thwart GOP opposition.
"We're seeing a perversion of the rules to go ahead and ram through this trillion-dollar health care bill," Cantor said on "Fox News Sunday."
The most likely scenario, Democratic leaders have said, is that the House would approve the bill passed by the Senate in December, then immediately pass another bill making changes so the final outcome is the legislation backed by President Barack Obama. The Senate would then pass the House changes.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said some Democrats are worried that the Senate won't follow through, leading to the enactment of a Senate bill House Democrats don't like. "We need to be absolutely assured that at least 51 senators there will support the package of changes," he said on Fox.