Undecided committee chairmen add to pressure on healthcare reform vote

By Bob Cusack and Jeffrey Young , The Hill- 03/08/10 08:19 PM ET

A handful of House committee chairmen are either undecided about or plan to reject the healthcare reform bill that is expected to be voted on as early as next week.

The prospect of several panel chairmen voting against the healthcare bill comes as the White House and Democratic leaders are ramping up their efforts to attract the necessary votes to move the Senate-passed bill. The White House wants the House to clear the bill by March 18 and then have the upper chamber amend the measure through reconciliation.

A survey conducted by The Hill of more than 100 possible Democratic defectors shows that President Barack Obama and House Democrats have a lot of persuading to do over the next week and a half.
Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) are firm “no”s on the bill, according to their offices.

Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-S.C.), Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) are undecided.

Meanwhile, Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), who supports Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) anti-abortion rights language, is leaning yes, according to his spokesman.

The Stupak abortion language is unlikely to be included in the final measure, leading some House committee chairmen to hold back their votes.

In November, eight committee chairmen voted for the Stupak language: Peterson, Skelton, Spratt, Gordon, Rahall, Oberstar, Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (Texas) and Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).

To read more, visit: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/85599-undecided-chairmen-add-to-pressure-on-health-vote-

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