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White House Reasserts End-of-Year Deadline for Health Bill

Even as Senate Democrats continue to grope for a way forward on health care, the White House asserted Monday that its Dec. 31 deadline for final passage of the legislation is solid. “When we say the end of the year, we’ve got a pretty firm end-of-the-year deadline,— White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week raised eyebrows at the White House by appearing to suggest in a statement that the legislation might not pass until next year. Reid later reaffirmed the year-end deadline.Democratic leaders are trying for consensus on issues such as a public insurance option and are still hoping to snag a Republican vote or two.Gibbs indicated the Democrats’ success in corralling a single House Republican, Anh “Joseph— Cao of Louisiana, into joining Democrats in passing a health care reform bill Saturday night was the result of a long courtship and not a sudden and unexpected move.Gibbs said White House health care adviser Nancy-Ann DeParle, who has been a busy lobbyist for the bill on Capitol Hill, met with Cao “many weeks ago.—

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