Though Congress has spent the last two weeks away from Washington on spring break, many members haven't been able to get away from the healthcare debate.
Members of key committees, such as the House Energy and Commerce Committee, are being hit hard by lobbying groups.
Meanwhile, Clinton administration officials, including the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, were crisscrossing the country to gather support for their plan.
What happens to the Energy and Commerce Committee is of particular interest because it is thought to be the next committee to tackle reform. Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has been circulating a modified version of the Clinton reform plan and working to garner votes for it.
Lobbying groups are working on the same members as Mr. Dingell. For example, the National Restaurant Association is airing a 60-second radio spot that contends President Clinton's plan will lead to government choosing patients' physicians. The ads are running in 11 swing-vote districts, including those of Energy and Commerce members Jim Slattery (D-Kan.), Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Lynn Schenk (D-Calif.) and Richard Lehman (D-Calif.).
The Coalition for Jobs and Health Care, which represents many employers, has targeted many of the same representatives with a newspaper campaign that attacks employer mandates.
The costs of the ad campaigns weren't known.
Pro-Clinton forces also are working in committee members' home districts. The consumer group Families USA has organized house parties and town meetings.
All this lobbying converged at one point in Topeka, Kan., the home district of the undecided Mr. Slattery. Mr. Clinton came to town last week for a healthcare rally and to secure Mr. Slattery's support. The same day, Mr. Slattery's home paper carried a full-page ad by the Coalition for Jobs and Health Care, and local radio carried the National Restaurant Associations' ad.
"He's the most popular man in America," joked an aide to Mr. Slattery.