As the Senate struggles with some of the most contentious aspects of the healthcare reform legislation, President Obama met with the Democratic caucus on Sunday to encourage further work on what he called "the most important social legislation since Social Security."
The bill under consideration would extend insurance coverage to about 30 million more Americans, but issues such as paying for abortions and the creation of a government-run insurance system have so far proven too significant to overcome the partisan divide over the legislation.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky reiterated that the bill ignored GOP concerns and that the Democrats have expressed "no interest in drafting a proposal that was in the political middle," an allegation his opponents dismissed saying the Republicans failed to offer constructive ideas, hoping to hurt Obama politically.
According to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, who was present during the meeting with the president, Obama "reminded us why we’re here, he reminded us why we run for office and he reminded us how many people are counting on us to come through," quoted by TheHill.com.
The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment designed to put additional restrictions on federal funding for abortion by adding language included in the House version of the bill.
In order to avoid a filibuster, the Democrats need 60 votes, which means either unanimity in their caucus or support from some Republican members, which appears unlikely thus far.