After the middle-of-the-night vote, there will be a maximum of 30 hours debate on the amendment. Then there will be a 30-hour period for a Republican substitute bill, followed by a 30-hour period on the final bill. Reid's schedule calls for a final, final vote on the health care measure to take place at about 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Voila! The bill will be passed by Christmas. That couldn't be done unless the Reid Amendment cloture vote were held in the earliest hours of Monday morning, setting off the final chain of votes and waiting periods. "This is purely to satisfy a self-imposed, arbitrary deadline," says the GOP aide.
By the way, when the 1 a.m. vote took place, the Reid Amendment had been public for about 36 hours, and the public had not had a single business day to examine it. "Make no mistake," said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a few minutes before the vote. "If the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn't be forcing this vote in the dead of night." Referring to the Nelson buy-off and other special arrangements in the bill, McConnell said few people would have imagined that the health care debate would have ended "with a couple of cheap deals and a rushed vote at one o'clock in the morning."
But that's what happened. In the end, to no one's surprise, the Reid Amendment moved ahead, 60-40, on a straight party-line vote. Democrats can blame Sen. Coburn and Republicans all they like, but the fact is, there is no reason, beyond the Christmas deadline, that the vote had to take place at 1 a.m.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: Who's responsible for the Senate's middle-of-the-night vote? | Byron York | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner