House Dems struggle for final votes on health care
By DAVID ESPO (AP) – 1 hour ago
WASHINGTON — Amid intense lobbying by the Obama administration, House Democratic leaders struggled Friday for the final votes needed to pass sweeping health care legislation, offering fresh concessions to abortion opponents and working to ease concerns among Hispanic holdouts.
“We’re very close” to having enough votes to prevail, said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, although he added a scheduled Saturday vote could slip by a day or two and sought to pin the blame on possible Republican delaying tactics.
“Nice try, Rep. Hoyer, but you can’t blame Republicans when the fact is you just don’t have the votes,” shot back Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for the GOP leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio.
Hours later, Democrats were still trying to get them.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over meetings well after dark with Democratic abortion foes, whose votes were critical to the bill’s fate, then with supporters of abortion rights, who are among the health legislation’s biggest advocates in the House.
It was not clear precisely what concessions were under discussion. In general, the issue in dispute was the availability of abortion services in insurance policies to be sold in a proposed new federally run insurance exchange, and also in a new government coverage option included in the bill.