- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In a series of votes Tuesday morning, the Senate hurdled another procedural roadblock to health care and remained on track to pass the Democrats’ bill by Christmas.

Senators, on a party-line vote, first adopted the changes Democrats unveiled last week, then once again mustered 60 votes to prevent a Republican filibuster. The vote was 60-39.

But the grueling schedule — there have been two 1 a.m. votes in the past week, and if Republicans use all tactics available, then the final vote would come late Christmas Eve — has strained relationships. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, made an appeal for senators to keep the spirit of Christmas with them.

“For those of the Christian faith, the most important holiday, and that is Christmas,” he told colleagues on the Senate floor. “That’s a time when we reflect on peace and the good things in life.”

And there may be a reprieve coming for senators. The Republicans’ leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said he and Mr. Reid are trying to come up with a new floor schedule “that will give certainty” to members about how the rest of the week will play out.

With passage of the bill in the Senate now all but certain, Republicans could agree to withdraw some of the procedural hurdles and allow the Senate to finish the year before Christmas Eve.

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