Health-care bill won’t be released until Thursday, and timing is still unclear

Jon Ward Contributor
Font Size:

President Obama’s health care bill will not be scored by the Congressional Budget Office and released to House Democrats and the public until Thursday at some point, and maybe as late as the afternoon, three House Democratic leaders said late Wednesday.

“We’re still waiting,” said Rep. John Larson, Connecticut Democrat and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, after emerging from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

“They keep telling us, it was since Sunday, we’ve been hearing it was Monday. Now it’s Wednesday evening.”

“So we hope tomorrow,” he said. “From your lips to God’s ears, we wish it was here yesterday.”

“It’s much more likely to come tomorrow morning, or sometime tomorrow I should say,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was more oblique, telling reporters it could come Wednesday evening, Thursday morning or Thursday afternoon.

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami emerged moments later to say nothing would be released Wednesday night.

Democrats are now running up against a time crunch. They need to give themselves 72 hours from the release of the bill until the vote, and if they release the bill Thursday morning that would still enable a vote Sunday morning, and probably would allow the president time to wait to sign the bill if it passes before he leaves for a week-long international trip.