Senate Heads Toward Late Afternoon Vote-a-Rama

Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:49am

Updated: 2:28 p.m.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) predicted Wednesday that the chamber would vote on final passage on a health care reconciliation bill sometime Thursday and that the Senate would be voting through the night.

The Senate is on pace to begin voting on scores of amendments to the measure around 5:30 p.m.

The lengthy vote-a-rama could keep Senators on the floor for several hours and far into the night, perhaps running into the early morning. Votes will occur every 10 minutes, and depending on how many amendments must be considered, the Senate could break from the marathon voting session and return to it Thursday. It remains unclear when the Senate will reach a final vote on passage of the reconciliation measure.

After the Senate passes the reconciliation bill, the chamber will likely move to an extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA health insurance programs. The Senate passed a short-term reauthorization of those programs earlier this month, but that extension will expire April 5. Democrats are expected to move another extension before adjourning for the two-week Passover and Easter recess.