By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2009 ( – Although House leadership had vowed to set a vote on the health care overhaul for Saturday evening, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated Friday that the vote may have to wait as they endeavor to scrape up enough support for the bill to pass.

“We're very close. Clearly, things happen. Delay tactics can be employed,” Hoyer told reporters on a conference call.  Hoyer said that the ultimate vote on the bill could take place as late as Monday or Tuesday, in time to dodge further delay from Wednesday's Veterans Day holiday. 

Antonia Ferrier, spokeswoman for House Republican Leader John Boehner, responded drily to Hoyer's statements. “Nice try Rep. Hoyer, but you can't blame Republicans when the fact is you just don't have the votes,” she said.

In addition to spending concerns over the bill – with an estimated cost of $1.2 trillion – the radical expansion of federal funding of abortion in the Obama administration's top domestic priority has emerged as its biggest hurdle.

On Thursday, a clarion call from pro-life Republican lawmakers drew thousands of citizens to Capitol Hill to protest the bill's abortion funding as well as its health coverage for illegal immigrants.  Rep. Boehner's office estimated the crowd at around 10,000.

Family Research Council Tony Perkins denounced the bill at the rally as “a bailout for the abortion industry.”

About a dozen protesters criticizing the bill's abortion expansion were arrested at House Speaker Pelosi's office during Friday's rally.  Members of the group were variously charged with unlawful conduct, disorderly conduct, and unlawful entry.


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