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US Senator: Democrats Lack Votes to Pass Health Care Bill


A key U.S. Democratic senator says his party cannot pass a health care reform bill in the Senate without support from minority Republicans.

Senate budget committee chairman Kent Conrad said Sunday on U.S. television network ABC Democrats do not have the votes to pass a bill despite holding a 60-seat majority in the 100-member assembly.

Some Democrats in the Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives have expressed concern about the cost of the Obama administration's health care reform plan.

Republicans in both chambers have slammed the proposals as an expensive step toward a government takeover of health care. Republican Senator Jim DeMint said Sunday Congress could agree on a plan in a few weeks it the goal of reform is not a takeover.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration and Congress have agreed on about 80 percent of the health care legislation and are working on the remaining issues.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is confident that a bill will pass in her chamber when she brings it to a vote.

U.S. President Barack Obama initially gave Congress a deadline of approving health care reform before lawmakers begin their August recess. He dropped the deadline this past week but has repeatedly pledged to get the laws passed by the end of this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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