Health care bill coming out Wednesday afternoon as Clyburn says he’ll have the votes by Saturday

Jon Ward Contributor
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Democrats are set to release a final Congressional Budget Office report on their health-care bill early this afternoon, which would put them on pace to pass a bill by Saturday, before President Obama leaves the country for a week.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, told The Daily Caller he will have 216 votes by Saturday to pass a bill.

“I think so,” he said in a brief interview, when asked about the Saturday deadline. “I’m closer than I was yesterday. And I’ll be closer tomorrow than I am today.”

The release of the bill’s CBO “score” today will allow the House Rules Committee to hold a hearing on the text, likely later Wednesday, and also allow Democrats to hold a vote by Saturday, in accordance with the rule that requires a bill to be released 72 hours before a vote.

Female House Democrats who met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her office on Wednesday morning said the meeting was not about abortion, and that there was no discussion of changing the Senate-passed health-care bill to make it more amenable to pro-life House Democrats.

The meeting, rather, was the latest in a series of events House Democrats have been doing to prepare their caucus for a robust promotion of the bill if and when it passes. Pelosi, a California Democrat, has already done events this week promoting the benefits of the bill for seniors and for children.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, said the meeting had prepared the female legislators to put on their “boxing gloves” and go out and counter criticism in their districts.

Nonetheless, there were some lawmakers who were tight-lipped about what was discussed in the meeting.

“I’d rather not talk about it,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat.