REID TELLS HOUSE DEMS WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR…. Lingering in the background has been a lingering question from House Dems: the Senate really will pass the reconciliation budget fix, right?

Before President Obama spoke to the House Democratic Caucus this afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) addressed lawmakers and told them what they wanted to hear.

Reid, in a speech on Saturday to the House Democratic Caucus, said he’d wrangled a majority of votes to pass a series of changes to the Senate’s original healthcare bill through budget reconciliation rules.

“I’m happy to announce I have the commitment of a significant majority of the United States Senate to make that good law even better,” Reid said.

The applause was loud and lengthy.

Reid’s office will reportedly release the contents of the letter — which he has already shared with Pelosi and Hoyer — later today. I find it hard to believe there are House Dems who would seriously let health care reform die over concerns that Senate Dems may not follow through, but if the commitment makes the final vote a little easier, it’s a welcome development.

Update: To emphasize a key point here, the letter has been “signed by more than 50 Senate Democrats, saying they will vote for the reconciliation amendment.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.