WASHINGTON - U.S. House of Representatives Democratic leader Steny Hoyer on Thursday said he expects the House to pass a sweeping healthcare overhaul on Saturday, but acknowledged that the vote would be close.
I think it's going to be close, Hoyer told a small group of reporters. He said the House would take up the bill on Saturday and that it would win majority support from Democrats.
House leaders are working through some last minute details to settle concerns by some Democrats over abortion and immigration issues.
Failure to pass the bill in the House would be a major political blow to President Barack Obama who has made reforming the country's hugely expensive healthcare system a top domestic priority.
Republicans oppose the overhaul and are expected to vote against the bill in the House.
Democratic leaders are trying to address concerns by some Democrats who want to be sure that federal healthcare money is not spent to finance abortions. At the same time, pro-abortion rights Democrats want to be sure that any language in the bill does not go beyond current restrictions against using federal money to finance abortions.
Some lawmakers also want to be sure illegal immigrants do not benefit from the federal subsidies for insurance premiums. Some also want to exclude illegal immigrants from accessing proposed insurance exchanges that would be established to help individuals and families find affordable insurance coverage.
(Reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by Vicki Allen)