Reid: Health Care Timetable May Slip

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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., acknowledged on Tuesday the possibility that his health reform bill may be delayed.

The major hang-up: federal funding for abortions.

Meanwhile, the latest version of the bill is scheduled for a floor vote this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Thorn in Their Side

Democrats are working on changes to their health care bill that are vital to getting enough votes to pass it.

"As this bill is drafted, it opens the door to public funding of abortion," Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, said.

Still, it's not Republicans that Democrats are trying to appease.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., leads as many as 40 pro-life Democrats and has been clear from the start: If health care legislation allows tax dollars to be used to pay for abortions, he plans to be a thorn in the leadership's side.

"Without that amendment we would not support the rule to bring the bill to the floor," he said.

Without their support, the 1,990 page plan is a waste of paper.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says leaders are working on language that would make it clear that any money spent on abortions must come from an individual's pocket - not the government's coffers.

A Critical Week for Democrats

Once changes to the bill are complete, leaders have vowed to call a vote within 72 hours. And it remains a volatile time for health care reform.

The latest CNN opinion research poll shows public support for President Barack Obama's handling of health care has eroded from 57 percent in March to 42 percent now.

But Democrats will have to be careful when making changes to appease their moderate members, because many others are growing impatient.

"Every day that we wait, 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance," Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said. "We have a good bill before us."

Despite the brokering that remains, leaders say they feel confident the bill will pass the House by Veteran's Day next week.

However, on the Senate side, Reid is signaling it may be next year before the Senate clears its version.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at