Say goodbye to that August healthcare deadline

Harry Reid says the Senate won't vote until after its recess, and there's trouble in the House too

Published July 23, 2009 5:40PM (EDT)

President Obama said he wanted Congress to vote on healthcare reform before it went into recess in August. But the Senate isn't going to make that deadline, and it's looking as if the House might have trouble doing it, too.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday that the Senate will not vote on its version of the legislation -- that is, once it has one -- until after it returns from recess. "It's better to have a product based on quality and thoughtfulness rather than try to jam something through," Reid said. He also said the decision was made in part to give moderate Republicans and Democrats more time to work out a compromise.

Meanwhile, in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday -- as she did on Wednesday -- that she still hopes to get a bill done before recess, and that she'll keep the House in session if necessary.

But it might not be that easy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will play a key role in that chamber's version of the legislation, has twice had to postpone its scheduled markup of the bill because of resistance from some Blue Dog Democrats on the committee. The markup was first postponed so committee members could go to the White House to meet with President Obama, but that effort doesn't appear to have been completely successful; it was pushed back again on Thursday.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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