Senate Democratic leaders had hoped to begin debating a health care reform bill by next week, but that may slip to the following week because one version of the bill is still stuck in the Finance Committee. The panel had planned to vote on a bill by Tuesday, but it is awaiting cost estimates for the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office.
Some Democrats on the committee say their vote may depend on the final cost of the bill, which had earlier been estimated at about $850 billion by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is already working behind the scenes with the White House on merging the Finance Committee bill, which calls for the creation of an insurance co-operative, with a more liberal bill that creates a government health insurance plan.
Reid cancelled the week-long Columbus Day recess in order to begin debating the bill on the Senate floor, which is expected to take weeks.