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Senate Finance Committee to Vote Tuesday on Health Care Bill

The Senate Finance Committee will vote 10 a.m. Tuesday on an $829 billion health care reform measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) agreed to wait until Tuesday, in order to allow Members to review the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that was released late Wednesday afternoon, aides said.

Though Reid had hoped to have the bill reported out of committee by Friday, the additional time before the vote is likely intended to placate Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), the only Republican viewed as a potential supporter of any Democratic health care plan. The White House and Democratic leaders are hoping to snag Snowe’s backing in committee and on the floor, but Snowe said Wednesday evening that she wanted time to go over the CBO’s estimates.

“I still must thoroughly review and evaluate this analysis before deciding how to proceed in the Finance Committee markup,— Snowe said in a statement.

Once the committee votes, Reid is expected to begin meeting immediately with White House officials, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Baucus, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), and other Members of the Democratic caucus to merge the Finance package with a measure passed out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Dodd shepherded the HELP bill through the committee in July in the absence of Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died in August.

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