President Barack Obama hopes to be signing a new health care reform bill by the end of the year, but Senator Bob Bennett, R-UT, says that won’t happen. On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Monday Bennett said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has finally released her bill and the votes are clearly not there. Sen. Bennett says it will be interesting to see if people on the left agree with her watered-down version of a public option. “My guess is that they probably will,” Sen. Bennett said. “And if she can keep the Blue Dog Democrats with her that means she probably can get to the 218 she needs, just barely. But given the wide margin the Democrats enjoy, numerically, it will not be much of a victory if she passes this by a vote or two.” Bennett says that means the bill won’t have much clout when it gets to the Senate. When the two bills are eventually merged into one he says it will have to go to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored. Bennett says it will probably be December before debate could begin and doesn’t expect a vote before the end of the year. Sen. Bennett also discussed the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. The world is waiting to hear what President Obama decides to do about the war in Afghanistan and as things worsen, Sen. Bennett says he has seen more support from other countries. Sen. Bennett said he’s been told that some countries that did not want much involvement several months ago are now willing to bear a higher part of the burden. “These other countries are obviously looking to see what President Obama decides to do,” Sen. Bennett said. “Given that level of international support and international belief that Afghanistan is crucial in the war on terrorism, I would hope the President would pay very close attention to what General McChrystal has to say.” Bennett says obviously Pres. Obama will have to lay out a rationale for whichever course he decides to take and he plans to look at that rationale very, very carefully.
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