Obama Delays Trip as Dems Scramble for HC Votes

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The ongoing health care debate has forced President Obama to delay an overseas trip next week.

He's waiting on House Democrats who, after another day of closed-door meetings, still have not ironed out a final reform plan.

Capitol Hill leaders are putting their game face on, smiling and saying they can indeed raise the votes necessary to pass health care reform.

"We stand ready to stay as long as it takes to pass a bill," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "I think members are eager to pass a bill."

Yet, approval numbers in the House don't seem to be adding up. Pelosi needs 216 votes to pass health care reform, but the opposition of pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak and five of his allies makes that difficult.

They've said there's no way they'll vote for a bill as long as it lets taxpayer funds pay for abortion.

Stupak has six other pro-life Democrats behind him, but Pelosi partisans believe they may switch sides before seeing the reform fail.

"This is the finish line. We either pass this bill or we do nothing," Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire said. "That's a big choice to make."

Pelosi would also have to turn around some of the 39 Democrats who previously voted "no" on the legislation.

"They twist arms and try to work their backroom deals, but Madame Speaker, your leadership cannot hide forever," GOP Rep. David Dreier charged in one session.

This time, lawmakers will be voting on the Senate version of a bill with measures most would disagree with more than the House bill they couldn't support before.

By postponing his trip, House leaders believe Obama may be able to flip 10 votes -- votes that could mean the difference between just passing 216 and failing to pass the bill.

"It would not be possible without his tremendous, tremendous leadership and his persistence," Pelosi said.

If health care reform goes down, Obama will fail as every president in the last 70 years has done on the issue.

And after spending a year on the attempt, Washington would probably be afraid to tackle comprehensive reform again for many years.

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