It's been a busy week by the standards of the United States Senate, but it's also been fairly confusing. With the Senate's long, lumbering push for reform now in its final stages, we've seen debate, votes, and back room wheeling and dealing on contentious issues like the public option and abortion. So what does all of it mean.
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To break it down into simpler terms, the crucial developments--the ones that will determine whether this bill passes or fails--have yet to come. In the mean time, there are tea leaves, and technical developments, but that's about it. If the Senate health care bill is in a slow motion run to the finish line, we'll know next week whether it breaks through the ribbon, or staggers and falls to the ground.
In the past week, members have filed (i.e. announced their intent to introduce) scores of amendments. A small handful have actually received votes, and more will come to the floor this weekend. But none, so far, have been particularly politically weighty. In other words, the amendments that will make or break this bill, are still being hashed out.