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Senate Ready to Hold First Votes Thursday

The Senate is set on Thursday to hold its first votes on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) $848 billion health care reform package after leaders reached an agreement late Wednesday on a quartet of amendments.

Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed Wednesday evening to hold Thursday votes on two Democratic-sponsored amendments and two proposals offered by Republicans. The deal came after three days of squabbling over the pace of the amendment process, with Democrats accusing the GOP of stalling and Republicans lobbing countercharges.

If all goes as planned, Senators on Thursday will vote on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) to add coverage of mammograms to the health care reform legislation, as well as a similar measure offered by GOP Conference Vice Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

Additionally, a vote will be held on a motion to commit proposed by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that if passed would strip the Medicare cuts out of Reid’s bill, pull it from the floor and send it back to the Finance Committee to be adjusted. A vote is also scheduled on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) that also is Medicare related.

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