Bishops back abortion compromise

House leaders have won the backing of the nation’s Catholic bishops for a last-minute abortion compromise, a critical boost that could give the health reform bill enough momentum – and enough votes – for passage as early as Saturday. As they awaited President Barack Obama’s visit before noon, House Democrats held out hopes they could rally the 218 votes to pass a sweeping $1.2 trillion health reform bill, even if it took until late Saturday night. But they clearly weren’t there yet. During the day’s first round of votes to corral support for the bill, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made a rare appearance in the Speaker’s Lobby, just off the House floor, to look for colleagues. He told a group of reporters, “I’m always gun-shy…At this moment, I’m counting.”