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Senate Will Continue Health Care Debate Through the Weekend

December 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

When the Senate began debating health care this week, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] announced that they would be working nights and weekends until they pass the bill. Sure enough, Reid announced today that he would be keeping the Senate in session on Saturday and Sunday to continue votes on amendments.

The Democrats’ official calendar hasn’t been updated yet, but The Hill reports that the first order of business on Saturday will be an amendment from Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR], one of the key Democratic swing votes, to limit pay for executives of health insurance companies. A separate piece from The Hill explains:

The amendment would not set healthcare executives’ pay levels, but would reduce a de facto subsidy for their salaries by cutting the amount of money insurers are able to write off as tax deductions per each executive’s salary.

Under current law, companies can claim up to $1 million per executive in annual write-offs. The Lincoln proposal would reduce the write-off to $400,000, the same annual salary as the president draws. According to Lincoln, the bill would also save $651 million in revenue over the next 10 years.

As the Senate has been switching back and forth between Democratic and Republican amendments, the Senate on Saturday will also vote on one from Republicans that has yet to be specified. I’ll update when information on that becomes available.

Debate of the Lincoln amendment and the Republican amendment will begin at 10 a.m. ET and votes are expected to occur around 2:30. Further debate of amendments will take place on Sunday, sometime after noon so senators have time to attend church services if they choose. Votes on Sunday are expected to take place after 6:00 p.m.

Read the Senate health care bill here: H.R. 3590Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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