Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver says that Dems have 201 of the 216 votes needed to pass the government health takeover bill
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says that the House isn't sticking with the March 18th deadline given to them by the White House.
"None of us has mentioned the 18th, other than Mr. Gibbs," Hoyer said in response to a question about whether Congress can pass a health care package by March 18, the date laid out last week by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "We are trying to do this as soon as possible. That continues to be our objective."
In the meantime, Hoyer said an internal fight over abortion restrictions "has to be resolved."
The majority leader didn't offer any ideas for a possible compromise between abortion opponents and their equally enraged adversaries in the abortion-rights camp, nor would he comment directly on whether Democrats could pass the bill without changing the Senate's current restrictions, which require insurance companies to set up separate accounts for anyone who wants coverage of elective abortions.
"I think it will be resolved one way or the other, and I think the bill will pass," Hoyer said after acknowledging that he wouldn't answer a question directly. "It's got to be resolved." . . .