Breaking: No vote on health care before August recess, says Durbin

Big, big, big win, if true. Is it?

“We’re going to take a little longer to get it right,” Durbin told The Hill when asked about the oft-stated goal of a vote on or before Aug. 7, when a monthlong Senate recess begins. “Initially we had hoped for a full vote by then, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible.”

Delaying the vote until after Labor Day would all but erase hopes of getting a bill to President Obama by mid-October, since the House and Senate versions would have to be reconciled in conference negotiations — assuming they pass their chambers.

Durbin said the bill was still largely on track, however, denying that momentum has stalled.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “This is a complex challenge, and we’re taking a reasonable approach with it. It would be better if some Republicans joined us instead of just criticizing.”

Pelosi’s now claiming she has the votes to pass the House bill, but at least two prominent Blue Dogs dispute that. If what Stupak had to say about a pro-life no vote is true, then she could only have an extremely narrow majority — so narrow, in fact, that I wonder why she’d want to go public about it. Maybe this is her way of putting the screws to Durbin and the Senate Democrats, to get them to redouble their efforts on getting something passed. The last thing she and The One want is for Congress to go home, marinate for a month in his decaying poll numbers, and have their constituents put the fear of God into them about voting for another trillion-dollar boondoggle. If she has (or claims to have) the votes in the House now then the pressure falls squarely on Reid and company to save the program by ramming it through; combine that with the bounce for ObamaCare that tonight’s presser is bound to bring and I’m guessing this is all a big coordinated show to impress people like Snowe, Collins, and Ben Nelson.

Exit question: What if Durbin’s right?