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In Late Night Vote, Senate Dems Score a Huge Health Care Victory

December 21, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

At 1:25 this morning, the Senate voted to defeat a Republican filibuster of the Democrats’ health care bill. The vote brings the Senate beyond the last big hurdle remaining for the bill and virtually guarantees that it will see final approval before the Senate leave town on Christmas Eve for recess.

Every single Republican in the Senate this morning voted to sustain the filibuster. To get this far, the Democratic leadership had to make dozen of concessions to their original bill to win the support of all 58 Democrats — and two Independents — in their caucus. The fact that Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] and the others in the leadership managed to accommodate all the conservative Democrats’ concerns with the legislation while not losing a single vote on the left by making the bill too weak is a major victory. Alexander Bolton at The Hill calls it “the biggest victory of his tenure as Senate Democratic leader.” The Obama Administration, which has been intimately involved in the Senate’s negotiations, also scored a huge political victory with this morning’s vote.

You can read the full Senate health care bill here and view a summary of the most recent changes, which will be officially adopted later this week, here. Leave a comment on the bill, find news and blog coverage and much more here.

The Senate now begins a series of procedural votes that is expected to take the Senate until 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. In case you’re interested, congressional procedure expert David Waldman has posted a good, detailed rundown of what will happen between now and then. The short version, though, is that since the bill exists in the form of an amendment to a House bill, the Republicans have more opportunities than usual to obstruct, and the Democrats will have to run down the clock repeatedly on motions to defeat the filibusters. All the remaining votes until final passage (there will be 6 of them) are expected to be approved strictly along party lines with the same exact roll call results as this morning’s vote.

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