Sen. Conrad: House must stick close to Senate bill

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2009 10:22 AM

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says the House must stick close to the Senate's version of health care reform or risk losing the 60 votes needed to pass it in the Senate.

Sen. Kent Conrad, a Democrat from North Dakota, said on "Fox News Sunday" that the 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster would not hold together unless the Senate bill emerged largely intact from a House-Senate conference.

Once the Senate approves the bill, conferees would have to work out a compromise that would be submitted to each House. The House bill includes a government-run public option. The Senate bill does not.

In addition, Senate Democratic leaders made concessions to some of their members to get them on board, most recently Ben Nelson of Nebraska.