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The Senate is a step closer to bringing the reconciliation package to the floor, after Parliamentarian Alan Frumin ruled against Republicans on their assertion that the excise tax provision impacted Social Security, and was in violation of the Budget Act. That was the primary challenge from the Republicans, but they promise "many more."

Nonetheless, Reid is planning to have the final vote on this legislation, approval of the reconciliation fixes, by the end of the week.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to bring the reconciliation package to the Senate floor by Tuesday afternoon. A senior Democratic aide said the goal is to pass the bill by Friday or Saturday.

Republicans are planning to object to much of the 153-page bill, threatening to make "Swiss cheese" out of the legislation that Democrats will try to move under the special rules that require only a majority vote.

Thus far, Nelson and Lincoln have said they will oppose reconciliation. Two other Conservadems, Bayh and Landrieu are "leaning toward supporting" it.

Update: The Senate session begins at 2:15 EDT today, with consideration of the reconciliation package. The Rs have their strategy, parliamentarian or no.

Knowing that they need only 51 votes to push a reconciliation bill to final passage, Democratic leaders are telling their senators that each Republican amendment is a "poison pill" that would derail the process. The reconciliation bill is designed to fix the health care legislation that President Barack Obama will sign into law Tuesday.

But with little to lose at this point, Senate Republicans are planning an onslaught of politically sensitive amendments to a health care reconciliation bill, searching high and low for any way to derail the final legislation.

So it depends on Senate discipline. Nelson, Lincoln? Are you going to play nice this time? Reid needs 50 Senators to pass it (with Biden to cast the deciding vote, if necessary). But any successful amendment sends the bill back to the House and threatens to derail the fixes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 23, 2010 at 10:30 AM PDT.

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