Larson: “I think that the votes are there.”

The fourth-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives believes his side has the votes necessary to pass the health care reform bill, perhaps as soon as this week.

“I think the votes are there,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT). “I always believed that.”

Larson’s confidence is a departure from what other senior Democratic leaders have been saying the past few days. The have couched their vote predictions.

“When we bring the bill to the floor, we’ll have the votes,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, the top vote counter in the House, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) was clear that he was still short.

“We don't have (the votes) as of this morning. But we've been working this thing all weekend. We'll be working it going into the week,” said Clyburn. The South Carolina Democrat indicated Friday that “the votes will be there when we vote.”

But on Monday night, Larson was even more emphatic that the House Democratic leadership had rounded up the votes of wavering lawmakers.

“We have the votes and that’s all that matters,” Larson said.