WASHINGTON — The House’s chief Democratic headcounter said Sunday he hadn’t rounded up enough votes to pass President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul heading into a make-or-break week, even as the White House’s top political adviser said he was “absolutely confident” in its prospects.
The administration gave signs of retreating on demands that senators jettison special home-state deals sought by individual lawmakers that have angered the public.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs predicted House passage this week, before Obama travels to Asia, a trip he postponed to push for the bill.
The postponement underscored the urgency behind Obama’s last-ditch push for immediate health care reform. Without a victory — and quickly — Democrats move into an election season without a major, tangible accomplishment that affects voters’ pocketbooks.
The United States is the only major industrialized country without a comprehensive health care plan. Nearly 50 million people are uninsured and Obama has made health care reform a key goal of his administration.
“This is the week where we will have this important vote,” Gibbs said.
“I do think this is the climactic week for health care reform.”