And without a deal by August, the ripple effects could start to endanger the prospect of health care reform this year altogether — chief among them, the closer it gets to the 2010 midterm elections, the harder it will be to get members to make the tough political decisions needed to vote on a bill…

Senate leaders appear intent on doing whatever they must to get a bill passed before the August recess. But Durbin suggested it may happen only if senators put in the extra time — meaning five-day workweeks, weekends and a shortened summer break.

“It is an ambitious goal, but it is doable,” Durbin said in an interview last week. “Don’t rule out the possibility of Mondays, Fridays and even weekends as we come to the close, the finish. … As long as you tell people, ‘This is going to happen, and focus on it. If you don’t get busy and get it done, you can lose part of your August recess’ — it is amazing how much you can finish.”