From NBC's Ken Strickland
The Senate has set the time to start the final vote on the stimulus bill for 5:30, but the bill won't be officially pass until as late at 10 p.m.
-- It takes 60 votes to pass. (On the last procedural/test vote, there were 61.)
-- Sen. Kennedy will not be voting today. That's brings the aye number down to 60, still enough for passage, BUT… .
-- Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is currently in Ohio, attending his mother's memorial service. She died earlier this week. He's represents the must-have 60th vote for final passage. He will not be back in Washington until much later tonight.
-- As a result of all of this, Majority Leader Harry Reid will hold the vote open until Brown flies back from Ohio. Depending on his flying time and other factors, that could be as late as 10pm, we're told.
-- Until Brown makes his way into the chamber, the bill has NOT passed. It is however, accurate to report that with 59 votes counted, "the bill is expected to pass later tonight pending Sherrod Brown's return from his mother memorial service in Ohio."
-- So for several hours tonight, we could be looking at a virtually empty chamber, waiting for Brown to arrive from the airport.