At the top of Thursday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats "are tantalizingly close" to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to "thwart" the legislation using "stall tactics."
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: "Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday." She lamented that "...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor."
After explaining that "Senate business got tied up for three hours," Cordes declared: "Democrats were predictably outraged." She concluded her report: "And that's the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats' goal of getting this bill passed."
Here is a full transcript of the segment:
7:00AM TEASE: HARRY SMITH: As Senate Democrats try to secure enough votes to pass health care reform, Republicans try to run out the clock.
DICK DURBIN [READING TWEET FROM SEN. JIM DEMINT]: If Reid won't slow down this debate, we'll do it for him.
SMITH: We'll go to Capitol Hill and get the latest.
RUSS MITCHELL: Back in this country, Senate Democratic leaders are working to push a watered down version of health care reform through Congress. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes is at her post on Capitol Hill with more on that. Nancy, good morning.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Russ. They are tantalizingly close now. There is now just one Republican - or Democrat, rather - holdout, that's Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Democratic leaders are frantically negotiating with Nelson who would provide their crucial 60th vote. Nelson, who wants the bill to include a ban on abortion coverage for any woman who gets a tax credit to buy insurance.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Reform On The Ropes; Clock Ticks Down On Health Care Overhaul]
MARK MCCLELLAN [THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION]: This is a big issue, it's a complex issue. Since it's all Democratic support, there is essentially no room for losing any votes.
CORDES: Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon. Because Senate rules dictate that if they want to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday. And even then, they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN [SENATE CLERK]: The provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act shall not apply to the council.
CORDES: Yesterday, Republicans suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [SENATE CLERK]: For purposes of this subsection, a service shall be considered to have been provided-
CORDES: Senate business got tied up for three hours until Senator Bernie Sanders just pulled his amendment. Democrats were predictably outraged.
DICK DURBIN [SENATOR, D-ILLINOIS]: I have in my hand a smoking tweet from Senator Joe DeMint. 'If Reid won't slow down this debate, we'll do it for him.'
CORDES: And that's the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats' goal of getting this bill passed, now before any of their members can change their minds. And before the calendar reads 2010. Which is an election year, Russ, when many members' minds will be elsewhere.
MITCHELL: Exactly. Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill. Thank you very much.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.