Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stressed Tuesday there was "no rush" to complete and pass a healthcare bill in the coming days or weeks.
He instead reminded reporters at a press conference this afternoon that the 111th Congress spans two years, meaning the work Democrats have already finished on their healthcare reform legislation will not go to waste if negotiations are not finished by the end of this week.
"What we have done lasts for two years. We just finished the first year," Reid said.
The majority leader's assurance on Tuesday that Democrats still have considerable time to complete healthcare work contrasts greatly with the tone Reid sounded back in December.
It was only a month ago that Democrats were racing to complete their bill by their own Christmas Day deadline, which they ultimately met.
One month later, the party seemed poised to complete its bill reconciliation process by the president's State of the Union address. However, the election of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts killed Democrats' 60-vote majority in the Senate -- and with it, the party's healthcare plans self-imposed healthcare timeline.
Nevertheless, negotiations continue Tuesday over the future of the healthcare bill. Democrats have a range of options available to them -- from reconciliation to crafting an entirely new bill -- but few seem amenable to both chambers' members.
Still, Reid said he would continue to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Nev.) and officials at the White House with the hope of finishing a bill as soon as they could.
"There are a number of options being discussed," Reid told reporters. "I've had a number of meetings with the Speaker, I've spoken to the White House on several occasions, I'm meeting with the Speaker later tonight... and we're going to find out how to proceed."