Republicans, under pressure from the democrats to deliver 70-100 votes from their side, were scouring the ranks and focusing on the two dozen Republicans who were retiring this year.
"It is a good number," said Representative Ray LaHood of Illionois, one of the Republicans leaving Congress this year.
Mr. LaHood said he had suggested to the leadership that they convene the departing members to get them to make the case to wavering Republicans.
Both parties were also scouring the political map to identify lawmakers who face little or no opposition for re-election in November, knowing the would be more willing to vote yes.
Democratic officials said that despite controlling both chamers in Congress, they were far from having a majority sufficient to pass the measure just from their ranks. And they also warned that Democrats in potentially tough races could not be counted on to provide the votes to put the package over the top when, and if, it reaches the floor.
So no one who has to face the public will vote for this piece of shit. I'm watching the news, and apparently the "Bush administration is very pleased with the progress" of the talks.