From NBC's Ken Strickland
With the vote 1 a.m. vote Monday morning, the highest hurdle for passage of the Senate health care bill has been cleared. But several procedural votes remain. And with Republicans committed to drag out the process as much as the rules allow, final passage should happen on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m.
Another way of looking at it is this: last night Democrats bought the car, but they can't drive it without insurance, tags, and title -- the upcoming votes.
As long as all 60 members of the Democratic caucus show up for votes to break the filibusters, passage of the bill is all but assured. The only question left is will Republicans really require the final vote on Christmas Eve or allow it to happen sooner.
Assuming Republicans use all available time, here's the schedule (long and short versions):
In summary (short version):
- Tuesday: 2 votes at 7am
- Wednesday: 2 votes at 1pm
- Thursday: final vote at 7pm
Here's the long version:
Tuesday, 7am (two back to back votes)
- first vote will be passage of the "Managers' Amendment"; simple majority needed.
* MANAGERS' AMENDMENT: this is the part of the bill that includes all the last minute fixes, most importantly stripping the public option and more restrictive abortion language.
- second vote will be on "cloture," to break the filibuster on the "substitute amendment." 60 votes required
* SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT: this is the essentially the bill that was created when Reid merged the Senate Finance and Health committee bills. It included the public option/opt out provision, but the managers amendment--mentioned above--stripped it out. This part has all the other major parts of the health care bill: the exchanges, the subsidies, insurance reforms, etc.
Wednesday, 1pm (two back to back votes)
- first vote will be passage of the substitute amendment; simple majority needed
- second vote will be "cloture" vote to break filibuster on the underlying bill
* UNDERLYING BILL: this is the bill that everything else sits on, but it's really just an empty shell (Consider this the pizza dough; the substitute and managers' amendments are the toppings.) Most people don't realize the underlying bill is not even a health care bill. It's actually called "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act."
Thursday, 7pm (one vote: FINAL PASSAGE)
- FINAL passage on the underlying bill; simple majority needed. Done.