[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/12/art.hreid.gi.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to evaluate the cost of the bill."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate's top Democrat declined Tuesday to say when he would introduce a hotly anticipated health care reform bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he was still waiting for a cost estimate of the legislation from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
"We're going to be hearing from CBO very soon," he promised during a Capitol Hill news conference.
Reid accused Republicans, who have promised a filibuster, of trying to dodge a full Senate debate and rob "the American people of a historic opportunity."
Sixty votes in the 100-member Senate are required to overcome a filibuster and open Senate debate on the bill.
GOP leaders, meanwhile, expressed fears that the Democrats would try to spring the measure on the Senate with little advance warning to deny Republicans a chance to adequately review it before starting debate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he expects a vote to open debate on the measure would come Friday. He pledged Republicans would continue to strongly oppose a bill that they say will result in tax and premium increases while doing little to rein in spiraling medical costs.