- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 23, 2009

UPDATED:

The top Democrat in the Senate says lawmakers won’t vote until after August on health care, a blow to President Obama’s ambitious timetable.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, told reporters Thursday the Finance Committee will act on its portion of the bill before Congress’ monthlong break. Then Reid will merge that bill with separate legislation already passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Mr. Reid said the decision to delay a vote was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bipartisan bill.

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Mr. Obama reacted to Mr. Reid’s comment during a town hall Thursday in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio.

He told the crowd that news had come from Washington that the bill won’t be able to get out of the Senate by his initial August deadline.

“That’s OK,” Mr. Obama said. “I just want people to keep on working. Just keep working. I want the bill to get out of the committee and then I want that bill to get on to the floor and then I want that bill to be reconciled … and then I want to sign that bill. I want it done this year. I want it done by the fall.”

Washington Times White House Correspondent Christina Bellantoni contributed to this article.

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