In it, but not of it. TPM DC

No Room For Error If Senate To Pass Health Care Before Christmas

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Newscom / KEVIN DIETSCH

The second cloture vote on the substitute amendment would be Tuesday at 7 am. And, the cloture vote on the underlying bill would be Wednesday at around 1 pm.

We could get an agreement to wrap up and have a final passage vote on the 23rd, however Republicans could continue to not cooperate and force us to have a vote on final passage on Christmas Eve.

The scientific term for this scenario is "tight squeeze." Last night, the whole plan nearly fell apart when Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) threatened to join the GOP filibuster of the defense spending bill. He came around at the last minute. "I do not support the defense funding bill and I will vote against it," reads Feingold's official statement. "But I am not going to be part of a partisan and cynical effort to delay passage of the defense bill in order to block the Senate from considering health care reform. I will decide how to vote on health care when the final bill is before the Senate. But the Senate should be allowed to continue debating and voting on health care reform legislation."

Now all Reid needs to do is not let any procedural hurdles trip him up, keep the unions quiet, tamp down a brewing revolt from the online left, deal with Howard Dean, and get assurances--privately or publicly--from the remaining holdouts. Then it's Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.