Reid: Some CBO Numbers to Be Available at Special Caucus

Posted March 17, 2010 at 9:56am

Updated: 11:35 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that some Congressional Budget Office numbers related to the health care reconciliation package will be available for his Conference to consider when Senators convene for a special caucus at 12:30 p.m.

Reid declined to address questions about whether Senate Democrats would take steps to guarantee to their House counterparts that they would pass a reconciliation bill, assuming it first passes the other chamber.

“We’re going to talk about health care,” Reid told reporters in a brief interview.

But one Senate Democratic aide said the caucus was intended to help leaders determine how much support they have for passage of the bill. Reid and other leaders have reached out to all members of their Conference, and they feel they are likely to have more than the 51 votes needed for passage. However, the caucus will help them “gauge the firmness of those positive preliminary indications,” the aide said.

Leaders may also float the notion of signing a letter or having 51 or more Senators co-sponsor the reconciliation bill as a way of proving to nervous House Members that the Senate is able to pass the bill.

Speaking about the availability of CBO numbers on the reconciliation package, Reid said, “We’ll have some, but I don’t know if we’ll have them all.”

Senate sources said House and Senate negotiators as late as Tuesday evening were still trying to squeeze more deficit reduction out of the bill and are tinkering with more ways to raise revenue.