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Senate may hold key healthcare vote soon

Nov. 19, 2009 at 7:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A critical procedural vote on bringing the U.S. Senate healthcare plan to the floor is likely to come Saturday, Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

All 40 Republicans in the Senate are expected to vote against opening debate on the bill. So Reid, D-Nev., needs all 58 Democrats plus the two independents who caucus with them, The Washington Post reports.

Thus far, the Senate bill appears to have broad support, with one of the leading Senate liberals, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and one of the most fiscally conservative Democrats, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, backing it.

"I was very impressed by what Senator Reid has done," Conrad said.

But Republican governors, meeting in Austin, Texas, were united in attacking the bill. They said it would not bring down healthcare costs and would shift some government spending to the states.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana called the cost estimates in the Democratic bill "fraudulent." Daniels headed the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would cost $849 billion over 10 years and extend insurance coverage to 30 million more Americans, while cutting the deficit by $130 billion

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