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GOP Considering Throwing in Towel in Health Fight

Senate Republicans are considering whether to throw in the towel in their efforts to stall Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) health care reform bill, a move that could mean the Senate completes work on the bill before Christmas Eve.Republican lawmakers headed into a noon luncheon called by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who said they would discuss whether they should halt their efforts to the delay the bill. When asked if GOP Senators would agree to such a move, Budget ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said simply, “We’ll see.— Republicans have been working for weeks to try to trip up passage of the Democratic package. But Democrats cleared a key hurdle after midnight Sunday to advance the bill, almost assuring passage by Dec. 24.Although the luncheon was not specifically called to discuss the possibility of giving in, several lawmakers acknowledged it would be a prime topic.With Monday’s 1 a.m. cloture vote on Reid’s compromise health care package now in the rearview mirror, Republicans are essentially powerless to stop passage of the bill. And while conservatives have pressed Republicans to use all of the procedural tactics at their disposal to slow down the legislation, the late nights and seven-day work weeks have begun to wear on lawmakers and staff.

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