Key Democrat says Congress will finish healthcare reform by State of the Union

Democrats are absolutely committed to finishing health reform by the State of the Union address, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Monday night.

Brown said that Democrats would work overtime to finish a healthcare bill in the Senate by the end of the year and would work to finish the bill before the late-January speech by President Barack Obama.

"You said 15 work days — there's a lot more than 15, because we're going to be working weekends, we're going to be working into the night," Brown said on MSNBC when asked about the timeline for finishing a bill.

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Brown suggested that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was on board to push the bill forward, as were other Democrats.

"And Harry Reid knows this, we need to stay in Washington starting Monday and do whatever it takes to get this bill past the Senate in December and to the president's desk prior to the State of the Union in January," Brown explained. "And that's absolutely our commitment."

He talked down pessimism that holdout Democrats could stall the legislative process, but said there's a sense of commitment to finishing the legislation, in no small part due to concern that failing to get reform would damage the early years of Obama's presidency.

"I know it's easy to be pessimistic about doing this, but we're committed to doing this and the overwhelming majority of the Democratic caucus is committed to this," Brown said. "We know that the president's success or failure of the first half of his first term depends on this."