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Schieffer: Health Debate No Longer About Care

(AP / CBS)
What Democrats hope are the final days of debate before the Senate votes on its health care reform bill "is the legislative process at its very worst," CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Shieffer said Friday night.

Schieffer told "CBS Evening News" Anchor Katie Couric that the debate now isn't about health care any more.

"This is about partisanship, about getting votes, about backroom deals," Schieffer said. "It's about politics."

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care Reform

Simply put, "Republicans are against everything," Schieffer said. While GOP senators don't know what's in the bill, Schieffer said they're all showing their opposition to it by trying several ways to slow it down, including threatening to force Senate clerks to engage in the time-consuming process of reading the complete text of proposed amendments out loud, a process that could take hours.

Democrats are doing everything to stop the GOP to secure a victory, Schieffer said.

"They don't know what's in the bill either, but they're for most of it, so they're trying to counter off Republican slowdown by putting the Senate on a 24-hour schedule," Schieffer said.

The Senate ended its business Friday much earlier than it did the previous night, which included a 1 a.m. vote Friday morning. The chamber is expected to resume debate at 7 a.m. Saturday with Democrats continuing to eye clearing this latest hurdle of securing 60 votes to end debate.

"At this point appears the Democrats are one, maybe two, votes away from having the votes to pass this bill," Schieffer told Couric. "But no one can be certain … how much it's going to cost. What we're seeing here tonight, Katie, is the legislative process at its very worst."

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