“None of us has mentioned the 18th other than Mr. Gibbs,” Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday at his weekly meeting with reporters, referring to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Going further, Hoyer refused to commit to House passage of either healthcare or the 2010 budget prior to the Easter recess, which is scheduled to begin on Saturday, March 27.

“Our objective is to pass both before the Easter break,” Hoyer said. “Is that going to be difficult? Yes. Is it a deadline? No.

“If we can, we can. If we can’t, we can’t,” Hoyer said. “We will continue to pursue both items.”

Last week Gibbs said President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama marks MLK Day by honoring King for his 'poetic brilliance' and 'moral clarity' Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina National Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo MORE wanted to see healthcare legislation reconciled and passed by both the House and Senate before March 18, the day the president is scheduled to begin an overseas trip.

But this represents a tough lift for House leaders, who must win over members who dislike the Senate bill, including centrists who think it does not go far enough in limiting public funds for abortion services.