Beginning Of The Endgame For Health Care President Obama told Congress this week that the time for debate is over and that he wants a vote by the end of the month. The president said health care deserves a simple up-or-down vote, but by the end of the week, the Democrats still didn't have the votes they needed. NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson updates host Liane Hansen on health care, the Democrats' ethics woes and their latest retirements.
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Beginning Of The Endgame For Health Care

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Beginning Of The Endgame For Health Care

Beginning Of The Endgame For Health Care

Beginning Of The Endgame For Health Care

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President Obama told Congress this week that the time for debate is over and that he wants a vote by the end of the month. The president said health care deserves a simple up-or-down vote, but by the end of the week, the Democrats still didn't have the votes they needed. NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson updates host Liane Hansen on health care, the Democrats' ethics woes and their latest retirements.

LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Mara, good morning.

MARA LIASSON: Good morning, Liane.

HANSEN: Give us an idea of where things stand now, and what do you expect in the coming weeks?

LIASSON: This is a frantic, final push to heave this piece of legislation over the finish line.

HANSEN: One of the issues that seems to be holding things up is abortion.

LIASSON: However, the Senate didn't like that language. They put different language in their bill that Stupak, and he says about 11 other Democrats, will not accept. That is something that is being worked on, but they have not found a solution yet.

HANSEN: Explain: What arguments - is the president making to lawmakers who previously voted no? And for that matter, what is he saying to those who are already on board?

LIASSON: He's saying to people who had voted no - actually, we don't know what he's saying to them. There are probably a lot of offers being made to those people, a lot of special deals. But he is making the big argument that this is why we are Democrats, and to have this thing fail would show that our party is ineffective and can't govern.

HANSEN: Democrats seem to be getting a lot of bad news lately: retirements in Congress, scandals in New York. Do you think they can keep their focus on health-care overhaul with all of these distractions?

LIASSON: The political handicapper Charlie Cook believes that when you get up to 10 retirements in Republican-leaning districts, you are officially in the danger zone. The Democrats aren't there yet, but they're getting close.

HANSEN: NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson, thanks Mara. Take care of that throat; get some honey.

LIASSON: Thank you, Liane.

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