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Congress: Timelines and calendars

"Even though he doesn't yet have an official cost estimate or promises of a filibuster-proof vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is confident he'll be able to kick off debate on a massive health care reform measure before Thanksgiving," Roll Call writes. "Reid wanted to get the ball rolling on the overhaul early this week armed with a Congressional Budget Office analysis, but because that CBO score didn't come on Friday as he had hoped, Democratic aides said the Majority Leader is prepared to push back his timeline. Reid may keep the Senate in session into the week of Thanksgiving in order to overcome one of the biggest hurdles facing the bill: producing the 60 votes needed to beat back a GOP filibuster that would prevent the bill from even being considered on the Senate floor."

Congressional lobbyist Billy Moore takes a smart look at the remaining calendar for Congress. "Congress has 26 legislative days remaining in 2009, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid conducts votes every day until Thanksgiving eve. Congress has 21 days if they take Thanksgiving week off. In that time, Democratic leaders want floor debates on health care reform, financial services regulatory overhaul, seven appropriations bills, extension of expiring tax and transportation programs, inheritance tax reform, a debt limit increase (perhaps with a deficit commission), postponing a cut in Medicare physician fees and confirmation of dozens of Administration and judicial nominees. As the calendar ticks toward Christmas, some of the agenda will be pushed to the 2010 program, joining deferred initiatives on immigration, energy and global warming."

This is interesting: "Even as drug makers promise to support Washington's health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation's drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years," the New York Times front-pages.