Reid Prepared to Keep Senate in Session Thanksgiving Week

Posted November 13, 2009 at 1:30pm

Senate leaders do not expect to receive an official cost estimate on their health care reform bill until sometime next week, but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is prepared to keep the Senate in session the week of Thanksgiving in order to get debate started on the measure before the holiday.

Senate aides acknowledged that the Congressional Budget Office is not expected to produce a cost estimate of the bill on Friday as expected and that Reid is hoping to receive the score by Tuesday or Wednesday.

One Senate Democratic leadership aide said the delay in getting numbers from CBO should not prevent the Senate from having a vote before Thanksgiving on whether to bring the bill up for debate.

“There will be 10 days between Monday and Thanksgiving, and we’ll use as much of that as we need to in order to get this done before Thanksgiving,— the aide said.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said earlier this week that Reid had promised Members they would not have to work the week of Thanksgiving, and some aides speculated that Reid would try to reach an agreement with nervous Democrats and a unanimously opposed Republican Conference to have the vote sometime the weekend of Nov. 21, rather than the week of Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holiday is Nov. 26.

Reid will need the votes of all 60 Democrats to break a GOP filibuster and bring the bill up for debate. Democrats said they were confident they would have enough votes to do that next week, so that the bill will be ready for amendments when Senators return from the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 30.