Meanwhile, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the administration has set a March 18 goal to get legislation moving on Capitol Hill.
Later, Pelosi said that most members already know the main tenets of the bill, but that nothing would be official until the CBO weighs in. “They want to see what actually is (in) the product,” she said. “I feel very confident in how we move forward.”
In what has amounted to a procedural muddle, one process for moving forward has taken center stage. The House would need to pass the Senate's bill first, then quickly pass a second bill that would contain a number of House-backed fixes. That second package would likely be done using a budgetary measure known as reconciliation, which allows a bill to pass the Senate on a majority vote.
The so-called “sidecar” bill would contain measures to expand the affordability of coverage to the middle class, drop targeted earmarks that were written into the Senate's bill, close the Medicare “doughnut hole” and alter a tax on high-valued health insurance plans, Pelosi said.
Still, Democratic leaders on both sides of Capitol Hill face a heavy lift in rallying their members to pass a reform package. In the House, where a sizable number of Democrats have said that they do not like the Senate's version, many have expressed uncertainty about their vote.
Long-simmering issues over abortion and immigration have also created an intraparty rift that has again threatened to scuttle the bill altogether.
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