House Democrats have unveiled a nearly final version of the healthcare reform bill ahead of a vote expected on Sunday. Democratic leaders have yet to secure the 216 votes needed to approve the measure, which would extend coverage to more than 30 million people while forcing millions of Americans to buy private health insurance. At least two Democratic Congress members announced they would vote for the bill on Thursday, but Democrats are said to remain around six votes short. Promoting the measure in Washington, President Obama cited new estimates from the independent Congressional Budget Office that the measure would help reduce the federal deficit.
President Obama: “This morning a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office concludes that the reform we seek would bring $1.3 trillion in deficit reduction over the next two decades. That makes this legislation the most significant effort to reduce deficits since the Balanced Budget Act in the 1990s. And this is — this is but one virtue of a reform that will bring new accountability to the insurance industry and greater economic security to all Americans.”
Obama spoke after the White House announced he would delay an overseas trip to remain in Washington for the vote. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama will reschedule his visit to Indonesia and Australia for June.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “The scheduling worked throughout the night, when it became apparent that the bill wasn’t going to post yesterday, to see about moving the trip back. We looked through and pulled out what very little padding remained from having moved the trip from Thursday to Sunday, and unless we took off basically extremely early in the afternoon on Sunday, it wasn’t going to be possible to do.”