Do the Democrats Have Enough Votes to Pass Healthcare Bill?

Senate Majority Leader Reid has told his caucus that he hopes to hold a test vote on the Senate health care bill by 8pm on Saturday. In the face of a promised GOP filibuster, Reid will need all 60 Democrat votes. While not all 60 Democrats have committed to voting with Senator Reid on the health care bill, he is confident he will have their vote when the time comes.

The real fights - including those over provisions in the bill like a government-run public option and its language allowing abortion coverage if it is paid for by private funds - are not likely to come until some time in December. Then, if it passes the Senate, it will move into a conference committee with the House, where the two chambers will hash out some significant differences over abortion (the House bill has far more restrictive language than the version now before the Senate), the public option (the House version is almost certain to be more robust) and how to pay for the health overhaul (with the House favoring higher taxes on the wealthy and the current Senate version relying on new levies on high-priced insurance plans).

The White House team has pledged its support to the senators

including visits to their states by Vice President Biden and making Administration officials available for interviews with home-state media.

These are even some of the same tactics that helped get Obama elected!

But the Republicans will not just stand by and watch this all unfold.

"After six weeks of drafting a bill behind closed doors, the majority has produced a bill that increases premiums, raises taxes and slashes Medicare by half a trillion dollars to create a new government program," minority leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. "This is not what the American people want. I don't believe they think this is reform. This is not the direction to take."

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