Senate Wraps Up for Night, Readies for an Early Saturday

Posted December 18, 2009 at 6:30pm

The Senate wrapped up work just before 7 p.m. Friday, ending an unusually quiet day in the otherwise bitter health care reform fight.With the chamber scheduled to reconvene at 6:45 a.m. Saturday for a series of votes on the Defense appropriations bill — and to begin what could be several days of around-the-clock health care debate on the floor — lawmakers seemed to be reserving their energy for the weekend.How the floor schedule plays out over the next several days remains in flux. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is hoping to introduce his final version of health care reform Saturday, which will trigger a demand by Republicans that the bill be read in its entirety. With the GOP expected to force several cloture motions on the bill, that process should take until Christmas Eve when Reid would like to have a final vote.However, GOP strategists have warned they have several possible tricks up their sleeves for slowing the process — including forcing the clerks to also read the journal of proceedings each morning, a tactic which could add significant time to the process.