Hoyer: Democrats aim to clinch healthcare deal this weekend

Democrats are hoping to finalize a healthcare reform deal this weekend, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Friday.

Hoyer said that on the heels of several days of marathon negotiations to hammer out a final healthcare bill, Democrats hope to announce a final agreement within the next 72 hours.

"I think we're getting very close," Hoyer said during an appearance on CNBC. "I would certainly hope that within the next 24, 48, 72 hours, we have a general agreement between the Senate and the House."

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Hoyer was among a handful of House and Senate Democrats huddled at the White House over the last two days to conduct talks on the health bill, talks which Hoyer said kept him awake until 2 a.m. Friday.

Democrats are also feeling the pressure from the Massachusetts Senate special election, which will take place Tuesday. That race represents the 60th vote in the Senate.

A poll that came out late Thursday night showed Republican candidate Scott Brown leading Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley 50-46.

Democrats also benefited from a breakthrough in their talks after striking a deal with labor groups to include an excise tax on high-end insurance plans that carved out some exemptions. 


The second-ranking House member said he expects leaders to move closer to a deal on Friday, but cautioned against expecting an announcement of a deal at House leaders' press conference at noon.

"I don't want to say it's too aggressive, but I don't want to say that's going to happen at noontime," he said. "My expectation is that we will be getting very close today."

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