Members of the Senate voted 60-40 at 1:18 a.m. today to protect a proposed revision of H.R. 3590, the Senate health bill, from a filibuster.
The early morning vote was one in a series of several major procedural votes leading up to what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expecting to be a floor vote at 7 p.m. Thursday — on Christmas Eve — on passage of the underlying bill.
All Democrats and independents in the Senate voted for a 30-hour limit on debate on the proposed amendment, and all Republicans voted against cloture.
Senate Democrats hammered out the 383-page manager’s amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to get the 60 votes needed to prevent Republicans from using a filibuster, or endless round of debate, to keep the bill from coming up for a vote on the Senate floor.
Reid unveiled the proposal Saturday, as snow blanketed Washington.
Republicans blasted the move to hold a cloture vote at 1 a.m.
“Some may be wondering why on earth the Senate is convening at midnight in the middle of a snow storm,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said. “The majority leader sets the schedule. He plopped down a 400-page amendment yesterday, and now he wants us to vote on it….. What’s the rush? I think the rush is that they don’t want to explain the bill.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., put in a last-minute plea for Democrats and independents to oppose the cloture motion and the underlying Senate health bill.