The Obama administration remains in talks with Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins even though both did not vote for Saturday's motion to proceed, according to White House official Linda Douglass. 

Douglass, who is the communications director for the White House office for Health Reform, confirmed reports that the administration is still seeking the two centrist senators' votes for final cloture on the healthcare reform. In an interview on the liberal Bill Press radio show, Douglass heaped praise upon Snowe and Collins.

"Senator Snowe has been very constructive throughout this discussion. She's very thoughtful about this issue," she said. "She has great concerns about her constituents in Maine as does Sen. Collins."


Douglass commended Collins and Snowe for making "impassioned pleas" on behalf of Mainers who don't have access to affordable or reliable insurance.

"I think you'll see discussions continuing on with those Republicans who want to be sure that they can do the best that they can to find some kind of relief for their own constituents," Douglass added. "I think these conversations are very likely to go forward."

Snowe on Saturday said that she spoke on the phone with President Barack Obama personally last week about her stance on healthcare reform legislation. The New York Times reported that Collins received a visit from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former senator from Colorado, about her vote on the bill.

Throughout the debate, Snowe has opposed the government-run public healthcare option as is it written in the legislation. She has indicated that she would support a "trigger" induced public option that would come into effect should health insurance companies fail to meet certain performance benchmarks.

Collins has said that the bill does not do enough to bring down the cost of healthcare insurance premiums as well as other healthcare costs.

Snowe said that attracting bipartisan support for the bill would be critical for a "historic endeavor" such as healthcare reform, saying it would be the "first time in half a century" that a piece of major legislation passed without bipartisan support. 

Snowe did not define how many Republican senators would be needed to call the bill bipartisan, but said "I hope it is more than just me." She also called on the president to attract more Republicans to vote for the bill.

"This is a place where the president could play a pivotal role," she said.