Aug. Health Reform Looks Impossible

Divisions among lawmakers may make reaching goal impossible
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 13, 2009 12:19 PM CDT
President Barack Obama, center, meets with Senate Democrats to discuss health care, Tuesday, June 2, 2009, in the State Dinning Room at the White House.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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(Newser) – President Obama has called for the passage of a health care bill by August—but that would require an unusually smooth few weeks on Capitol Hill, Politico reports. The Senate Finance Committee hasn’t released a version of the bill planned for early June; disagreements among Democrats in both chambers have made consensus on that side of the aisle look difficult. If nothing’s done by August, the midterm elections could make passing a measure this year difficult.

One Democratic senator said there would be time after the August break to pass the bill, noting that he doesn’t want the schedule to hurt the measure. But the Senate majority whip called the deadline “doable.” “As long as you tell people, ‘This is going to happen, and focus on it," said Dick Durbin. "If you don’t get busy and get it done, you can lose part of your August recess’—it is amazing how much you can finish.”