Discuss as:

House begins debate on stimulus

From NBC's Mike Viqueira and Ken Strickland
The U.S. House has just begun procedural debate on the stimulus conference report. Following this debate and a procedural vote, general debate on the conference report will take place. It will last roughly two hours.

A final vote will occur in the 1:00 pm ET. It's expected to pass, of course. Then it's on to the Senate, but we don't have an exact time the chamber will start the final vote on the bill.  Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would happen either late afternoon or early evening.

Reid also has said he will hold the vote open, probably for a few hours, to accommodate Sen. Sherrod Brown, who will be attending a memorial service for his mother. She died in Ohio earlier this week.

Because Sen. Ted Kennedy will not be voting today, Brown's vote is absolutely critical, since it will take 60 votes for passage. The last procedural vote yielded 61; without Kennedy, it's down to 60 assuming everyone votes the same (and that Judd Gregg votes against the measure).

Yesterday, Reid said Brown may not be able to get back to Washington until 8:00 pm. So there will likely be a scenario where at Nightly News time, the are 59 votes while they wait for Brown to fly back and be the final decisive vote for passage.