No one really knows the answer to that question. Except for maybe Reid. And he’s playing coy. “We’ll find out when the votes are taken,” the Senate Majority Leader said yesterday. The votes will be taken on Saturday night, when the Senate takes up a key procedural vote that, if passed, will allow it to move on to dealing with the legislation. All 40 Senate Republicans are expected to vote against the $848 billion bill, so Reid needs to convince wavering Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson to go along with his “motion to proceed,” which would give him a filibuster-proof 60 votes.
Some Democrats have suggested that Reid go for a fast-track procedure called “budget reconciliation,” which would require only 51 votes, but he emphatically shot that down yesterday. (“I’m not using reconciliation,” he said emphatically.) So, until Saturday at least, the power lies with Lincoln, Landrieu and Nelson, who are already getting special treatment. If one of them, or any of the 55 Democrats and two Independents who have said they will vote “yes” decides not to, the 2,074-page bill will be dead before it even gets going. The result: a lot of wasted paper.
Reid pushes for votes on health-care bill [Washington Post]
UPDATE: US Sen Reid Readies Health Bill For Saturday Vote [WSJ]