By Lester Holt, NBC News anchor
We're ordering dinner to be brought into the newsroom tonight, as we settle in for what could be a long evening in the buildup to the House vote on the health care bill. My guess is there will be more than one pizza delivered to Capitol Hill tonight as well. At this writing, it looks like they'll get started around 6:00 p.m. ET, but few expect the vote on the Senate health care bill and reconciliation act to occur before 8 p.m. ET. It will actually be a 3 vote process to move it out of the House and to the president's desk.
The Democrats say they have the votes they need, and they have special reason to be confident now that the president has agreed to issue an executive order making it clear federal dollars won't pay for abortions under this legislation. That was the potential show-stopper leading up to tonight's vote.
How unfortunate it has been to hear stories of racial and homophobic epithets hurled at members of Congress by some opposed to the bill. The grassroots movement against this legislation is real, and poll after poll tells us a lot of Americans are against it and they have been making their views known in largely peaceful demonstrations outside the Capitol. It's a shame a handful of people have now distracted from this important and spirited debate with ugly acts of incivility.
We'll have more on that, and full coverage of this evening's drama on Capitol Hill on NBC Nightly News.