Reid wants healthcare debate before Thanksgiving

The Senate majority leader's pushing forward with his reform bill, but there are some hurdles to overcome

Published November 16, 2009 3:40PM (EST)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's blown a few deadlines on healthcare reform already, but now he's trying to move forward quickly -- he wants to begin debate on his bill before the Senate recesses for Thanksgiving. It's an ambitious timetable to set, considering all the things that will need to happen first.

"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," Roll Call reports Monday. "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."

At the very least, Reid is confident that he has the 60 votes that will be needed to bring the bill to the floor for debate. A cloture vote to end that debate -- that is, to end any Republican filibuster -- is a whole different story, but that can wait. For now, he just wants to have that first roll call done before letting his members go home for the holiday.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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