Your U.S. Senate was successfully advancing health reform toward a likely Christmas Eve showdown. The early morning vote was 60 to 40 with 58 Democrats and two independents lining up behind the President. All Republicans stood firm in opposition.
Harry Reid, majority leader, said: "We are reshaping the nation. With this vote, we're rejecting a system in which one class of people can afford to stay healthy, while another cannot." Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, described the milestone as "a historic mistake," noting that there was some significance to the "dead of night" wranglings that resulted in the historic vote. According to McConnnell, the "final product is a mess."
The Boston Globe is reporting that Senate rules require three successive votes be held 30 hours apart. This will lead to a 7PM vote on Thursday evening... Christmas Eve. Republicans can allow the final vote to occur earlier, but you won't want to bet your house on it. John McCain announced: "We'll fight until the last vote."
Remaining for the Democrats? Resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions regarding abortion restrictions, the public option, tax requirements, and the issue of coverage for illegal immigrants. All BIG issues. If the House holds firm on any of the major compromise issues, the delicate and fragile alliance among key senators could crumble.
The political implications of all this? With midterm elections coming next year, expect Republican candidates for office to decry the middle of the night deal making and politicking that accompanied this process.