The Senate cleared its second procedural obstacle this morning, when 58 Democrats and 2 Independents agreed to end a second Republican filibuster of health care reform.
The final vote on the motion to end the filibuster--known as cloture--was 60 to 39. After Monday morning's 1 am vote, the result of today's wasn't much in doubt. But the substance of the underlying was in fact much greater. On Monday, Democrats signaled their unity behind the cause of health care reform, by agreeing to end a filibuster on a package of amendments to Senate health care legislation.
Today, with the 60 vote alliance not in doubt, the party agreed to end a filibuster of the actual reform package--known as the "substitute."
On Wednesday, Democrats are expected to end one final filibuster, before holding an up or down vote on the bill itself Christmas eve. That is, unless the GOP admits the jig is up, and allows the votes to happen sooner than scheduled.