Health Bill Success

It’s a big day for Democrats in the Senate, especially their leader Sen. Harry Reid, as they get to celebrate Christmas Eve approval of major health care legislation, after a long and somewhat tortuous fight.

Reid took a lot of flak along the way for how he handled the bill, as at times it looked like the legislative effort would implode.

But Reid navigated his way through the various troubles, and will now produce a bill, moving this issue to House-Senate negotiations.

“The unanimous feeling among Democrats in the Senate is unadulterated admiration for him, and how he has been able to weather all of these pressures,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

“He has kept the Democratic Caucus together,” Nelson added, noting the multiple ads run against Reid by interest groups on both sides.

Even Republicans grudgingly gave Reid his due as well.

“Harry Reid was able to control all 60 of his Democratic Senators, and that’s extraordinarily difficult to do,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

“And while I disagree obviously in a violent way with the end result, it’s a pretty good accomplishment to get his arms around all 60 Senators and get them to vote one way,” said Chambliss of Reid.

“We stand on the doorstep of history,” Reid said at a news conference late on Wednesday afternoon, after the Senate had cut off a GOP filibuster for the third time this week on health care reform.

That paved the way for a 7 am EST vote on Christmas Eve. 

I couldn’t confirm this independently, but one report said this is the first Christmas Eve session of the Senate since 1963.

Another statistic is that the 24 straight days of the Senate being in session is the second longest in history.

Democrats get to smile today.  Whether they will still be smiling in the New Year on health care reform is anyone’s guess.