Reform passage likely 24 hours away
By Ben Pershing
Here's a vivid illustration of how bad things have gotten in the Senate: It took an anticipated act of God to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on something.
With the threat of a snow and ice storm marching across the country Christmas Eve, the majority and minority struck a deal to vote on final passage of the health-care reform bill roughly 24 hours from now. The cliché about Chuck Schumer is that you should never get between him and a camera; this deal proves that you should never get between a senator and the airport, particularly when the legislative outcome is all but assured. "Jubilant Democrats are ready to push President Barack Obama's health care overhaul past one last 60-vote hurdle to final Christmas Eve passage, and Republicans concede they're powerless to stop it," the Associated Press writes, as one more key procedural vote remains Wednesday afternoon before the final tally Thursday. The Senate will also vote on an increase in the debt limit that will put the issue off until February, and the GOP extracted a pledge that they would be allowed to offer amendments then. "Beyond practical concerns, Republicans said the agreement allowed them to use what remaining 'leverage' they had from their ongoing filibuster of the Christmas bill to help set the stage for next year's political battles, particularly on the national debt," Roll Call reports.
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December 23, 2009; 8:06 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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