From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Democratic House leadership contends there will, in fact, be a vote tomorrow on health-reform legislation -- despite reports suggesting a vote could be pushed back to Sunday or even next week.
An aide told First Read that "assuming all goes well," they are aiming for a vote late afternoon/early evening tomorrow. The aide, however, conceded the vote could slip later into tomorrow evening.
"We still expect to vote on health care tomorrow," the aide said.
The only thing that could push it off -- aside from not having the votes, and Dems don't have those yet -- are procedural delays by Republicans.
But Republican leadership says that's not part of the plan.
A GOP aide said they are happy to watch Democrats "flopping around like landed haddock." (For those wondering, haddock is a deep water cod.)
"Any member has the right to make a motion to adjourn and walk off the floor," the aide said. But "in terms of strategy, no. We're not going to let Steny's waggin' finger blame us for this."
The reference to Steny, is Steny Hoyer, the Democratic majority leader. Republicans also said they are hearing Hoyer is OK with the vote being pushed back to Sunday or next week if they don't have the votes tomorrow.
Not so, Hoyer's office says. But as far as getting to 218, a Democratic aide said, "All indications we've gotten is that we're getting there."
Translation: They don't have the votes yet.
The Rules Committee began meeting at 2:00 pm ET today to figure out what the structure for tomorrow will be.
At 9:00 am ET tomorrow, members will vote on the rules, then debate the Democratic bill, and then debate the Republican alternative. Word is, the GOP bill could get just an hour, and then Democrats will move on.
Another possible complication: the American Medical Association's Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates will take place in Houston, beginning tomorrow and continuing through Tuesday. Republicans are hoping state AMA groups will pressure the national organization to rescind its endorsement. Republicans think that is a real possibility.
"The national leadership is out of touch" with doctors across the country, the GOP aide said.
So why is Congress coming in on Saturday to debate the measure anyway? Why not just do it on Monday?
Well, there's the complication that going home and hearing complaints from some of the loudest constituents could spook members, particularly those who are undecided about how they'll vote. Complicating matter even further is that Veterans Day is Wednesday. And members traditionally go home that day for parades in their districts.
So, if uncertainty were to creep in over a weekend at home. And then members have to be wrangled again on Monday and Tuesday, that could slow the vote down to the end of the week or possibly even the following week.
Hence, why Democrats are trying to push this through as quickly as they can.