This week, and last, the Senate had been facing the rather unpleasant prospect of having to hold its final vote on Senate Democrats' healthcare reform bill at 7 p.m. EST -- maybe even later -- on Christmas Eve. And though no one really wanted that to happen, due to the combined force of Republican stalling tactics and Majority Leader Harry Reid's determination to get the bill passed before Christmas, it looked inevitable.
On Tuesday afternoon, though, Reid announced that his chamber has gotten a reprieve. Senate Republicans, who know that the result is bound to go against them no matter what at this point, have agreed to give up some of the time the body's rules allow them for debate, thus speeding up the process appreciably.
The vote will still be held on Dec. 24, but is now scheduled for 8 a.m. EST, hopefully allowing members and their staffs -- not to mention everyone else who makes the Capitol run, plus the reporters who have to cover the vote -- time enough to travel, if need be, in order to join their families for the holiday.