The senator, however, said he is “strongly inclined” to vote for the bill to move it toward floor debate.
Because of the sheer size and scope of the bill, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent to the Congressional Budget Office on Monday, 60 votes would be needed to even start the debate and amendment process. Another 60 would be needed for final passage.
Reid said that he and a small group of negotiators included a national health plan, which states could opt out of if they chose.
Reid, however, downplayed Lieberman's comments made earlier in the day, saying the two worked closely together on a number of difficult bills. “Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems,” he said.
The bill's ultimate success hinges on a handful of centrist Democrats, many of whom are wary of the new insurance option. On Capitol Hill, many said they would vote to help move the bill to the Senate floor, but were decidedly less certain about a final vote.
“My inclination is to go along with the procedural votes, at least for now,” Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said. “I support the process. I think we need healthcare reform, and I acknowledge that this work product is going to change as it goes through the process.”
But Pryor was less certain about a final vote to pass the bill. “What I've told the leader and anyone who would listen is that I make no commitments on final passage because I just don't know until I see the final bill,” he added.
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