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Christmas healthcare bill deadline iffy

Dec. 12, 2009 at 2:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Doubts are growing over whether the U.S. Senate can pass a healthcare reform bill by Christmas, lawmakers say.

While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says it's still possible, other senators aren't so sure, the Washington publication The Hill reported Saturday.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Finance Health Care Subcommittee who would serve as a negotiator in conference talks with the House after Senate passage, told The Hill, "I'm assuming we're coming back after Christmas."

"For a lot of people it looks fairly dim," added Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., when the publication asked about the chances of finishing the bill by Christmas. "I don't know what process the leader is going to use to try to move this forward. I know this is a situation where people are not anxious to hang around but there are folks who are threatening to delay it."

"I've heard calls from constituents and from around the country that Republicans should do everything they can to slow this down so I'm not going to give them any concessions on that," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told The Hill.

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