The Hill reported this afternoon that a final vote on the Senate health care bill will take place at 8 am Christmas Eve, about 11 hours earlier than originally expected.
Under Senate rules, the GOP could have insisted that the vote not occur until 7 p.m. but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon to announce an agreement that allows senators to depart Washington sooner to begin the Christmas holiday.
At a news conference Tuesday, Reid said the final vote has been scheduled earlier in order to allow lawmakers to return home to celebrate Christmas.
CNN noted that “another procedural vote on the health care bill Wednesday to set up the final vote.”
This procedural vote will require support from all 60 members of Reid’s Democratic caucus to overcome a Republican filibuster. The vote Thursday on final passage will need a simple majority of 51 in the 100-member chamber.
Politico added that this is the first time in 46 years the Senate has met on Christmas Eve.
The last time was in 1963 when the chamber met to consider foreign aid funding during the Vietnam War.
The $871 billion Senate health care bill, although absent of a government-run insurance plan, still amounts to the most sweeping overhaul of the health care industry since the enactment of Medicare more than four decades ago.