It's a big one

Stage is set for historic healthcare vote

Democrats will now proceed with a straight up-or-down vote on the healthcare bill that passed the Senate last year. Party leaders, facing the possibility of failure, decided Saturday to scrap plans to use a controversial procedural maneuver to approve Senate legislation.

The House plans to begin voting on the Senate bill Sunday afternoon. It will also hold a second vote Sunday on a package of amendments to modify some provisions of the Senate legislation and expand its scope to satisfy demands from House Democrats.

Barring a last-minute breakdown over abortion, House Democrats are expected to have the 216 votes they need.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also promised that he had the 51 votes needed to pass the amendments package, which will be presented in the form of a filibuster-proof budget reconciliation measure as soon as Monday.

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