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OBAMA IS LOSING ON HEALTHCARE BILL

Yesterday's election results is scaring the crap out of the Blue Dogs in Congress. If they vote for this 1,990 page abortion of a healthcare bill, they will lose their seats in 2010. Now the bill isn't going to be done until 2010. The closer we get to the 2010 elections, the less brave these Blue Dogs will get. Keep the pressure on the cowards in Congress. They will buckle under the pressure. Call your Congressmen and tell them what you think about this bill.

 

2nd UPDATE: Cost-Estimate Delay Stalls US Senate Health Bill

 (Updates with details of Blue Dog meeting)

By Patrick Yoest Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Senate Democrats, hampered by a delayed cost estimate for Senate health-care legislation and a shortening window of time, indicated that Congress may not be able to pass a health-care bill this year.

Aides say that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office will not finish a cost estimate for Democratic health-care legislation by the end of the week. Senate Democrats are waiting for the estimate before unveiling the bill and bringing it to the Senate floor for debate.

Asked whether Congress may not be able to pass health-care legislation this year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said Democrats would "do this the right way, not the fast way."

"We're not going to be bound by any timelines," Reid said. "We want quality legislation, and we're going to do that."

Reid said he is having regular discussions with CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf and that he has "great admiration for the work that they do."

"I wish I could blame it on CBO," Reid said. "They're doing their very best."

Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), said that sending a bill to the president by the end of the year "is certainly a challenge."

"I'm not going to make any kind of final judgments on that until we see what happens" at the Congressional Budget Office, Durbin said.

The White House and congressional Democrats in the past have said they want to send a bill to the president's desk before the end of the year. The House could vote as soon as the end of this week on its version of the legislation, which would need to be reconciled with a Senate-passed version of the bill before the president can sign it.

Two major holidays--Veterans Day on Nov. 11 and Thanksgiving on Nov. 26--present major roadblocks for Senate Democrats, since lawmakers are set to return home for several days for each holiday. With little over eight weeks before the end of the year and the scheduled holiday breaks, the Senate will need to move swiftly to pass the legislation once it receives a CBO cost estimate.

But Reid has committed to a waiting period for lawmakers and citizens to examine the bill before he brings it up for Senate debate, which could delay action even further.

Still, Reid spokesman Jim Manley maintained "there is no reason why we can't have a transparent and thorough debate in the Senate and still send a bill to the President by Christmas."

Asked about a possible delay in the Senate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said Tuesday: "We would hope it would be sooner, but I don't think anybody has a clock ticking."

House Democrats are aiming to bring their version of health-care legislation up for a vote before Veterans Day. They are still trying to iron out objections within the Democratic caucus to language in the bill on abortion and access to health exchanges by illegal immigrants.

Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf met Tuesday evening with members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally-conservative House Democrats, to discuss the long-term costs of the House legislation.

Blue Dogs said that their ranks are divided over the bill: some have indicated support for the bill because it now would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate payment rates for a public health insurance plan, while others remained concerned about its $1 trillion price tag and costs over the long haul.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., a Blue Dog who attended the meeting, said that he expects there will be a "split decision" on how to vote for the bill within the 52-member group.

"Why haven't we had a clear, bright line in terms of Blue Dog demands [for the bill]? We couldn't get agreement," said Pomeroy, who has said he supports the current version of the legislation. "A number will be for it and a number will be against."

-By Patrick Yoest, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-3554; patrick.yoest@dowjones.com

(Corey Boles and Martin Vaughan contributed to this article.)