After Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., announced Saturday that he'd support the Senate healthcare bill, the outcome wasn't in doubt. But in a vote held very early Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proved that he does indeed have the 60 votes needed to get the legislation passed -- for now, at least.
Monday morning's cloture vote was a procedural one that allowed Reid to make certain changes to the bill. It wasn't the big cloture vote, or even the last of the procedural votes that will be held -- there are several more to come, with the final roll call scheduled for Christmas Eve. But the outcome of those is now not in doubt.
There is one big test remaining, of course -- after the Senate passes its version of the bill, it will have to iron out its differences with the House. That could mean more wrangling.