HEALTH CARE -- March 19, 2010 at 2:00 PM EDT
As Health Vote Nears, Obama Continues Public Push for Reform
Updated 5:19 p.m.
President Obama delivered Friday an impassioned closing argument for health care reform, telling a crowd in suburban Virginia that "the insurance industry will continue to run amok" if legislation is defeated.
Speaking ahead of an expected vote in the House on Sunday, the president told a raucous crowd at George Mason University that the battle over reform is more than just a debate about health care:
"It's a debate about the character of our country," he said. "About whether we can still meet the challenges of our time; whether we still have the guts and the courage to give every citizen, not just some, the chance to reach their dreams."
As the president spoke, Democrats secured two additional votes for the $940 billion bill, bringing the party closer to the 216 needed for passage.
Compare the final reconciliation bill, the original House bill and the original Senate bill in this updated chart.
Ohio Democrat John Boccieri, who in November voted against the original bill in the House, announced he'd be supporting the final measure, as did fellow Ohio Democrat Charles Wilson.
Speaking to reporters outside of the Capitol, Boccieri said he was swayed by Thursday's report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office showing the bill would trim the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the first 10 years.
"I was very encouraged by the budget results we got," he said.
"I'm very excited about the momentum that is developing around the bill," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters, according to news agencies. "When we bring the bill to the floor, we will have a significant victory for the American people."
Watch Pelosi's statement to reporters:
Republicans, meanwhile, maintained their opposition to the measure. Calling the health overhaul a "job-killing monstrosity," Rep. John Boehner, the top Republican in the House, said Democrats were "dead wrong" if they believe the American public will eventually warm to the bill.
Watch Boehner's full statement:
A variety of vote tallies show Democrats still short of the votes they need to pass the health bill. The Washington Post counts 167 solid yes votes with 57 undecided. The New York Times says Democrats have 198 yes votes; The Wall Street Journal says 205. Slate's "Whipometer," meanwhile, puts the bill's chances at 75 percent.