President Obama has delayed his visit to Asia to push for a vote on healthcare reform here at home before the Congress takes its Easter recess at the end of the month. “President Barack Obama is delaying his trip to Asia to work on health-care legislation as Republicans claimed a parliamentary victory in their effort to derail the measure. The president, who is pushing lawmakers to act before they leave March 26 for a two-week recess, will now depart March 21 for Indonesia and Australia and won’t be bringing his family, spokesman Robert Gibbs said. He plans to return March 26. Republicans said they received word from the Senate parliamentarian that Obama must sign a Senate health-care bill into law before the House and Senate can approve changes to it under a process called reconciliation. That’s an issue for House Democrats who oppose provisions in the original Senate bill. ‘This would be another headwind for Democrats in the House,’ said John Sullivan, a health-care analyst at Boston- based Leerink Swann & Co. ‘Their biggest fear has been that they vote for the Senate version and they never get the relief they’re looking for.’ Reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote in the Senate, is at issue because Democrats are trying to find a way to complete their work on health care now that they control only 59 of the 100 seats in the chamber. Senate Democrats passed their original bill in December with 60 votes, the number generally required to push through major legislation.”
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