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Reid Plans Tuesday Kickoff for Sotomayor Debate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced Thursday afternoon that he hoped to begin floor debate on the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday as the Senate wraps up work on a series of largely noncontroversial spending and policy bills before the August recess.

A final vote on Sotomayor’s nomination will be scheduled for Thursday night, Democratic aides said. Her confirmation is all but assured with the entire Democratic Conference and a handful of GOP supporters expected to vote for Sotomayor.

Reid, speaking on the Senate floor, said he discussed the timing on Sotomayor’s confirmation debate with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and expects Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to sign off on the vote.

“Tuesday we’re going to move to the nomination of the Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor. ... I haven’t had a chance to talk with the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. But with their approval, we’ll move to that matter on Tuesday,” Reid said.

Reid also announced that he hopes to wrap up work on the Agriculture, rural development, and Food and Drug Administration spending bill on Monday, with a vote later in the week on a travel promotion bill, as well as a handful of executive branch nominations.

Reid’s relatively light schedule for next week stands in contrast with the frantic final stretch before the August break that many expected.

But with negotiations on a health care reform bill in limbo, Senators should be able to make an easy escape to their home states Thursday night, aides predicted.

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