Senator Harry Reid has “reverse-engineered” the health-care vote to take place on Christmas Eve, in the words of National Review’s Rich Lowry. Lowry has a fascinating item on how it could go down tomorrow:
This is how I understand the Senate state of play. Reid wants to unveil the bill on Saturday morning, around 7:30 a.m. That’s when 30 hours on the Defense appropriations bill expires. Reid will do it only if he is assured his 60 votes—to do otherwise would court legislative suicide. But he’s probably not there yet, or we already would have seen the bill. The chances are that he’s working multiple issues right now, given that Nelson says his concerns go beyond abortion. On Saturday morning, every hour will count. Reid has reverse-engineered this for a Christmas Eve vote. He needs to file for cloture on Saturday to make it. But he knows Republicans are going to demand that his manager’s amendment be read, and this takes time. Probably 8 or 10 hours. Reid needs to introduce the amendment early, so Republicans have no chance to push the reading past midnight, which will delay the filing of cloture until Sunday and push everything back a day and past Christmas Eve. If Reid files cloture on Saturday, then he’ll have a bunch of early-morning sessions like the one today to jam the schedule.