Obama will push health bill in Saturday Hill visit

President Barack Obama still expects to have a health care overhaul bill to sign by year’s end and plans to personally lobby for it in a visit to Capitol Hill on Saturday, the White House said.

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters earlier Friday that the make-or-break vote on Obama’s top priority could face delay and might not come until Sunday or later. Democrats indicated they didn’t have enough votes lined up to conduct the vote on Saturday.

The president was set to make a personal appeal to the Democratic rank and file in a visit Friday to Capitol Hill. That was called off after the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and rescheduled for Saturday.

“Schedules have changed a bit based on the events that have happened over the past — regrettably, over the past 24 hours, and the president wanted to go a little closer to the vote,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“While the president would like it, tomorrow will not be the final vote on a bill coming to his desk, but he sees tomorrow as an important step forward. He’ll go to Capitol Hill tomorrow to advocate for continuing that progress and passing in the House of Representatives a bill,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the president expects the bill to pass despite the delay.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.