The House is inching closer to voting on a comprehensive health-care bill, even as the chamber appears so divided that the measure may not attract a single Republican supporter.
The final vote, likely in late October, is impossible to predict, but lawmakers and aides from both parties said this week that there is a strong chance the GOP will be unanimous in its opposition. Such a result would mark the second time — the first came on the economic stimulus package in February — that the entire House minority rejected one of President Obama’s top domestic initiatives.
“We’re still hoping that some of them will come on board, but we see no sign of it,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), a member of the Democratic leadership.
Even the most moderate Republicans, who might be inclined to vote with Democrats on big-ticket legislation, say they don’t expect to do so on health care.
“I don’t think I would, and I don’t sense much support from any Republicans,” said Rep. Peter T. King (N.Y.), predicting that the GOP support would be either zero or “no significant number.”
The effort at bipartisanship has been difficult on Capitol Hill. The two parties have traded blame for that, with Republicans alleging that they’ve been shut out of the process and Democrats arguing that GOP members were never interested in a constructive discussion — only in a chance to deal a defeat to Obama.