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Fin. Cmte vote sets up for next wk

From NBC's Ken Strickland
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said his committee could finish voting on amendments as early as tonight, or tomorrow at the latest. That sets the stage for a final committee vote sometime next week.

The reason why the final vote wouldn't happen until next week is because Baucus promised the members they would get to review the bill's preliminary cost estimate -- or "the score" -- from the Congressional Budget Office before the final vote. (Put another way, Republicans have demanded to see the numbers before they vote.) Amendments that have been agreed to will likely change the bill's cost.

Last night, Baucus say it would take two-to-three days for the CBO to come up with the preliminary numbers, hence, pushing the final vote until some time next week. That would be the vote when all eyes look to Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) to see if she will support the bill.

Today's amendments will likely focus on how the bill is financed, tweaking or killing provisions dealing with taxes, fees and penalties.

By the numbers (courtesy of the chairman):

  • 107: As of last night, the committee has considered 107 amendments. (That doesn't mean 107 votes though. Some have been debated and then pulled to be offered later on the floor.)
  • 15: It's been 15 years since the committee has worked this long "marking up" a bill
  • 7: This is the seventh day of the "mark up" -- voting on amendments