WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The Congressional Budget Office's report on the healthcare bill may get House Democrats the 216 votes they need, Democratic Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said.
The CBO's preliminary estimate indicated the Senate version under consideration in the House would cost $940 billion and reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the first 10 years.
Democratic leaders had hoped for a good report, but "very few of us thought it would be this good," Clyburn said on PBS's "Charlie Rose" show Thursday.
"I really ... believe that the people who were very leery about what this would do to the country's debt and deficit are very pleased with this," Clyburn said.
Democrats need 216 votes to pass the bill out of the House, but have had trouble rounding up the necessary votes for a number of reasons, including concerns about the effects of the bill on the deficit. A vote is expected Sunday.
Clyburn said the biggest hurdle remaining for his caucus is abortion. Some Democrats expressed concern the bill could permit federal funds be spent on abortion.
"The toughest one right now is getting all of our anti-abortion people comfortable with the Senate language," he said.
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