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Reid, McConnell Discussing an Earlier Exit on Thursday

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are attempting to negotiate a deal that would keep the Senate in session through Christmas Eve but could allow Senators to adjourn for the year earlier that day than is currently expected.Senate Republicans are committed to debating health care reform through Thursday, when a vote on final passage of the health care reform package is set to occur, GOP sources said Tuesday.However, it remains possible that Reid and McConnell could reach a deal to hold the Christmas Eve vote earlier in the day than is otherwise required under Senate rules mandating 30 hours of debate time following Wednesday’s cloture vote on the underlying bill. “All things are possible — except leaving before Christmas Eve,— a Senate Republican leadership aide said Tuesday morning.With the vote to end debate on the underlying bill set for around 2 p.m. Wednesday, the vote on final passage could not occur until Thursday between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., unless the GOP yields back time. Reid and McConnell also are trying to negotiate a deal on the debt limit that would be acceptable to both sides and ensure that Senators do not have to return to Washington, D.C., between Christmas and New Year’s to address this matter.

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