Harkin says Dems will finish healthcare by March 27th

Democrats will have finished the entirety of their healthcare bill by March 27th, a top Senate Democrat said Tuesday.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, predicted that the Congress would wrap up its healthcare bills for President Barack Obama's signature before lawmakers leave for a holiday recess.

"Let me put it this way: I believe that we will have the bill on the president's desk by the time we leave on March 27th," Harkin said at a summit Tuesday morning on healthcare reform, video of which was taken by the liberal blog ThinkProgress.

ADVERTISEMENT
Harkin said that deadline didn't just extend to the House passing the Senate bill, but to the package of fixes House Democrats have also demanded.

"That's two bills: That's the Senate bill that's in the House, I hope, and the corrections bill," Harkin said.

The White House set a deadline of March 18th by which they hoped the House would pass the Senate healthcare bill, though House leaders have bristled in the media about that timeline. After the House passes the Senate bill, it's expected to bring up another bill under reconciliation rules to make fixes to that original legislation, which can be passed with a simple majority in the Senate instead of the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.

Harkin's timeline would put Democrats on track to finish health reform by Easter, and the two-week holiday recess that's set to follow.

The HELP Committee chairman, though, has been known for optimistic projections, and Democrats continue to work to ensure they have the votes to move forward.

Check out the video of Harkin's comments below, courtesy of ThinkProgress:

More in Ballot Box

Grayson: Dems 'willing to crawl over hot coals naked to vote for me'

Read more »