The Democrats, quite sensibly, celebrated the end of the health care debate today with the signing of the main bill. Reconciliation, however, trudges on.
Could the House trust the Senate? Well, they took the first test vote the afternoon, on the motion to proceed to the bill, and the Democrats prevailed 56-40 (as I guess everyone knows by now, this is reconciliation, and only 50 votes are needed). The missing Senators were two Republicans and two Democrats, Robert Byrd, and Tom Udall, whose father just died. The Dems lost one vote -- the Benator. As far as I know, neither Byrd nor Udall has any objections to the patch.
In other words, at least on the procedural vote, it looks as if the Dems have 58 votes. Now, earlier in the process, I said that I would set the line at 58 votes and take the over. I backed off from that when student loan reform was added, since I wasn't sure whether that might cost Democratic votes, and thought it would firm up moderate Republican opposition. So far, at least, it looks as if the former was wrong, but the latter was true.
Meanwhile, we're now into twenty hours of (I assume) very boring debate. The big action is on the points of order and the amendments, both of which are just about forcing the House to vote again, and then eventually the efforts to cut off endless amendments.
(Update: botched sentence corrected)