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Health Care Bill Heads To U.S. House Floor For Debate, Vote

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 7, 2009 6:45PM

The battle over health care is revving up this weekend as a deal among U.S. House Democrats has paved the way for a potential House vote on President Obama's health care reform bill. The deal would allow for an amendment to the public option portion that would prevent the the government's plan, as well as private plans involved in the government-run exchanges, from covering elective abortions. However, coverage would still be available in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. The amendment is expected to pass with support from Republicans and conservative Dems and gives Dem leaders hope of swaying enough of those conservative Dems to secure the 218 necessary votes to pass the bill on to the Senate. There are concerns, though, that there won't be quite enough votes to get the bill passed. Clout Street explains:

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer expressed concern Friday that GOP lawmakers might attempt to disrupt the voting by making repeated motions to adjourn, as they have in the past. House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that party leaders had not decided what they would do during the vote.

One veteran lawmaker expected that when the voting starts, more lawmakers will come over. "I don't believe all those people who say no," said 19-term Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont). "When they look up at the board, do they really want to vote against providing coverage to millions of people?"

But Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said party leaders are reluctant to go to a floor vote without a sure result. "You don't want to roll the dice on this," he said.

According to a report by Reuters, Hoyer claims the vote may not happen later today, as originally expected, but could move to tomorrow or further into next week, saying, "There are many people who are still looking to get a comfort level that this is the right thing to do. We're trying to answer any concerns they might have." President Obama is paying a visit to lawmakers this weekend in an effort to shore up support for his bill, which would still have a long way to go even if it does get passed by the House this weekend.