Senate Still on Track for Christmas Eve Health Care Vote

Posted December 19, 2009 at 1:20pm

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to file a handful of cloture motions Saturday afternoon to move his health care package forward, setting up the first in a series of votes Monday with final passage likely on Christmas Eve.

The Senate is likely to cast its next vote at 1 a.m. Monday to invoke cloture on the manager’s amendment, or Reid’s compromise language on the bill. Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) recently announced support of the proposal almost certainly assures that Democrats will be successful in that first test vote.

A second procedural vote would likely occur at 7 a.m. Tuesday, with the third and final cloture vote scheduled around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

If all cloture motions pass with 60 votes or more, which is expected, the Senate would likely cast its final vote on the $871 billion health care bill Christmas Eve night. Democrats continue to hope Republicans will yield back debate time in order to move up that vote.

Republicans have steadfastly tried to push back the timeline on health care, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reaffirmed Saturday that he will employ procedural maneuvers to continue that effort.