Reid wants the Senate to pass a health-care bill in less than a week, but still apparently doesn’t know what exactly the bill is. It’s almost the end of the day Wednesday and still — no bill, no CBO score, no 60. Perhaps Reid will spring all those things on us momentarily. The Senate now is on the defense appropriations bill, which will take it into Saturday, leaving absolutely no room for error if Reid wants the health-care bill before Christmas.
All eyes are on Nelson. On the one hand, when a president just needs one vote from his own party on a key initiative, he usually gets it and Republicans are nervous about Nelson’s intestinal fortitude under this kind of pressure. On the other hand, Nelson is pretty far out on the limb here and it’s going to be hard for him to back down without a real win on the substance. Republicans still hold out hope that there are “lurkers,” Democrats who haven’t been so public but still have real problems voting for cloture on the bill. We’d probably already know about them, though. More likely is that there are moderate Democrats who are uncomfortable with the rush to move before Christmas and want to slow the process down. If so, opponents of the bill would be delighted with the delay, believing that every day the bill is out there it becomes more unpopular. Conservatives and independents already hate the bill — if the Left can talk itself into hating the bill too, it’ll be unanimous. For now, this is the most important news — Reid hasn’t revealed a bill yet and hasn’t filed for cloture. Every day he doesn’t is a good one for the opposition.