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Franken, Klobuchar optimistic after Obama’s health-care pep talk today

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama today told Senate Democrats to finish the job on health-care reform, urging a fractured caucus to unite for the series of procedural votes they’ll need to clear to end debate and get the Senate’s health care bill to the floor for a vote.

“The President put this debate into a really important perspective today and reminded us to keep our eye on the end goal: we’re on the verge of being able to cover millions of Americans and stop the explosion of health care costs for families,” said Sen. Al Franken.

“There have been a lot of moving pieces in the past few days, and I still haven’t seen the final bill language or CBO [Congressional Budget Office] score. However, if the bill we end up with prevents Minnesota families from losing coverage, going bankrupt due to medical debt or not being able to afford any coverage at all, it will be more than worthwhile,” he said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said two positive developments came of the meeting — one of them being a general recognition in the room that no one got everything they wanted in the bill, but that it was a priority to pass it anyway. The second was the reaction of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has repeatedly threatened to filibuster the bill — and torpedoed the last two compromise frameworks.

“Lieberman stood up and said he was encouraged by what he was hearing,” Klobuchar said. With his vote, plus those already expected to back a toned-down bill, Democrats would theoretically have the 60 votes needed to overcome any Republican filibusters.

“I still think we’re going to get it done by Christmas,” Klobuchar said.

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