- Senate Democrats Rounding Up Votes for Crucial Healthcare Test
Senate Democratic leaders, having negotiated critical last-minute commitments, Friday stood on the verge of achieving the 60 votes they need to begin consideration of the most expansive healthcare legislation to go before the Senate in nearly half a century.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, who was among three Democratic holdouts, announced that he would back an all-important procedural vote set for Saturday that will allow the chamber to take up the wide-ranging bill unveiled this week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
And Democratic leaders expect Sens. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to support a cloture vote on the so-called "motion to proceed," although the two lawmakers have not formally announced their plans
With the backing of those three senators, Democratic leaders are all but assured of clearing the procedural hurdle, a key step if Congress is to send President Obama a healthcare bill by the end of January, as party leaders hope.