Senate to hold key health care vote on Saturday - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Senate to hold key health care vote on Saturday

Sen. Patty Murray Sen. Patty Murray
Sen. Richard Durbin Sen. Richard Durbin
Sen. John Cornyn (center) Sen. John Cornyn (center)
Sen. Mike Enzi Sen. Mike Enzi

by Steve Handelsman

WASHINGTON (NBC) – The key vote on whether to start debate comes Saturday night, but both sides argued again Friday over the public option. Who pays, who gets covered in the Democrats $850 billion health care reform plan.

"It's going to reward what works in this system and change what doesn't work" said Senator Patty Murray, (D)-Washington.

"This bill will raise taxes by half a trillion dollars" said Senator Mike Enzi, (R)-Wyoming.

"And this bill is being rushed, and it shouldn't be rushed" said Senator Judd Gregg, (R)-New Hampshire.

To formally begin debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid needs 60 senators. That's every Democrat. Reid's vote counter is Dick Durbin.

"I've only been asked 30 or 40 times if I have the 60 votes. I'm not assuming a thing" said Senator Durbin, (D) Illinois.

At mid-day, Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska said he'll vote yes. Moderates Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas were holding out. But an insider said Reid has probably won the whole fight.

"I think at the end of the day, Reid gets his 60 votes, the Senate passes the bill, the House and Senate reconcile something and we have a healthy care reform bill" said Democratic strategist Julian Epstein.

Not yet. Now we have a health care reform fight.

"Higher premiums. Higher taxes on the middle class, including small businesses, Medicare cuts. There is nothing here to like" said Senator John Cornyn, (R)-Texas.

"Criticizing isn't enough. Stand up and tell us what you are for" said Durbin.

One day until Democrats have to stand up, unanimously. The betting here is that to Democrat Harry Reid would not have called for a vote unless he was sure he would win.

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