Reid: ‘Closer Than Ever’ to Fixing Health Care System

Posted December 17, 2009 at 10:27am

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reaffirmed Thursday that the Senate will pass a health care reform bill before adjourning for Christmas, one day after Republicans launched into a procedural assault to delay action.

“We’re closer than ever to fixing a badly broken system and doing more to make sure every American can afford to live a healthy life,— Reid said, lamenting that “Republicans have made their point through obstruction. … They made it perfectly clear that they have no interest in cooperation or legislating.—

Republicans have consistently blasted Democrats for trying to ram through the $848 billion health care bill. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has made it a morning routine to criticize the Democratic health care debate, took to the floor again Thursday to declare the process of considering the legislation “a charade.—

“At the end of this rush they want us to vote on this bill that no one outside the Majority Leaders’ conference room has seen,— McConnell said. “The final bill we vote on isn’t even the one we’ve had on the floor. It’s the deal Democratic leaders have been trying to work out in private.—

“So this entire process, Madam President, is essentially a charade,— the Republican announced.

It is still unclear when Senators will vote on final passage of the health care bill. Before Reid can begin the procedural process to make that happen, the Congressional Budget Office must release its cost estimate of an agreement reached by five moderate and five liberal Democratic Senators on the public insurance option and other components. That CBO score could be unveiled as soon as Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Senate is considering a $636 billion Defense appropriations bill. The Senate is poised to vote on a procedural motion to end debate on that spending bill on Friday, the same day the Defense Department’s current funding bill expires. Final passage of the bill could come as soon as Saturday.