BREAKING: Key Healthcare Vote Scheduled For 1:00 AM Monday
In less than two hours, the Senate will vote on healthcare reform cloture.
What this means is that if the Democrats get 60 votes, debate will end, and the current iteration of healthcare reform will be voted on some time next week.
With Saturday's sellout of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) -- or buyout, depending on how you look at it -- the Democrat leadership feels it has the 60 votes necessary to send this bill to a final vote.
As the Associated Press reported hours ago:
Senate Democrats confidently advanced heath care legislation Sunday toward a make-or-break test vote in a push for Christmas-week passage. Republicans vowed to resist what they appeared unable to stop. [...]
Under Senate rules, Democrats needed 60 votes on three separate occasions to pass the measure. The first and most critical test was set for about 1 a.m. Monday. Democrats said Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson's announcement Saturday that he would vote for the bill gave them the support they needed.
Nelson came in for strong criticism from Republicans in Washington, who complained that he had won favorable treatment for his home state's Medicaid program. In a bit of political theater, they sought to open the bill up to extend it to all 50 states, but Democrats objected. [...]
Vermont and Massachusetts also won additional Medicaid funds; plastic surgeons were persuasive in their bid to strip out a proposed tax on elective plastic surgery; hospitals in the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana won additional Medicare funds; and there was more money for hospitals in Hawaii to treat the uninsured