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A small but vocal contingent of the anti-health care reform protesters that descended on Capitol Hill yesterday remained on hand today as the seconds ticked down on the health care reform debate's final day in the House.

Faced with all but certain defeat in the halls of Congress, the crowd -- made up largely of the tea party-style protesters that have come to embody public opposition to Democratic reform plans -- promised that though today might be the end of the legislative fight on reform, the war is far from over.

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Anything can happen, but it looks like the House is poised to pass the Senate health care bill tonight sometime between 10:15 and 10:30 tonight. They are plowing through two hours of debate which is expected to wrap up right before 10 p.m. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer kicked off the official debate, and members have taken to the floor for several minute speeches with various talking points. Some lawmakers have spoken for less than 45 seconds.

When the two hours of debate time expires, expect to see Speaker Nancy Pelosi assume the dais to call for the official yeas and nays. House Press Gallery staffers say that is looking like it will happen at 10:15 at the earliest. It's always a bit confusing when the House holds a major vote, but it is likely the Republicans will get an attempt to kill the bill and kick off a series of procedural votes. Those votes always fall along party lines to prevent the minority party from defeating the legislation. Usually the minority party is allowed 15 minutes of debate time - split between Republicans and Democrats - to argue their case for killing the bill.

When Pelosi asks the question, bells will sound signaling the vote series. As members are scattered all over the Capitol (some even having dinner nearby) it will take awhile for them to get into the chamber for the vote. So the actual voting time, which includes that series of procedural votes, could last an hour. Gallery staff say it could also happen in any order, so pay close attention to what the speaker says at about 10:15 p.m. The last vote in the series will be on passage of the Senate bill. After that, there will be about an hour window where - technically - the Senate measure could become law.

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The anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List group announced tonight they will strip Rep. Bart Stupak of the "Defender of Life" award that he's received several times. The group blasted Stupak's role in forging a compromise with the White House on abortion language in an executive order and said he is no longer truly "pro-life."

The group says President Obama's executive order was "unacceptable" and they are redoubling efforts to elect "true" pro-life candidates.

SBA List Candidate Fund President Marjorie Dannenfelser issued a statement saying the group had been planning to honor Stupak (D-MI) for his efforts at their Campaign for Life Gala scheduled for Wednesday. "We will no longer be doing so. By accepting this deal from the most pro-abortion President in American history, Stupak has not only failed to stand strong for unborn children, but also for his constituents and pro-life voters across the country," Dannenfelser said in the statement.

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Pro-life Republicans in the House expressed dismay this evening over the abortion language signed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and the White House today in advance of tonight's historic health care reform vote.

At a press conference that ended a few minutes ago, Republicans eviscerated the deal -- and said that the Stupak, the man who signed it, had "broken our heart" with his decision to vote in favor of Democratic reforms.

The Republicans said that despite Democratic arguments to the contrary, the Senate-written reform bill before the House tonight will lead to publicly-funded abortion and an increase in the procedure after it is passed.

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Earlier this evening, outside the House chamber, Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) told AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka that he will oppose the health care bill tonight, despite direct pressure from Trumka that he vote for it. Trumka told me in an interview just afterwards that the vote won't be forgotten.

"I told him how important the bill was," Trumka said. "I started off by saying, 'you agree with me that the status quo is unacceptable.' Everybody has to agree with that because this system is broken."

In response, Lynch told Trumka he won't be changing his mind. "He said he was not going to vote for the bill," Trumka said. That may come back to haunt him, according to Trumka.

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While House Democrats are hailing President Obama's executive order on abortion as a breakthrough that will help the final passage of health care reform legislation, at least one group is not happy.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) issued a statement this evening declaring that the group is "incensed" by the move. NOW President Terry O'Neill said in a statement emailed to reporters that Obama's executive order was "designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women's access to abortion."

O'Neill accused Obama of trying to "lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass."

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President Obama will make a statement in the East Room of the White House after the final House vote, the White House just announced.

That vote is expected to come after 10 p.m. The House will vote on the rule for health care reform, then the reconciliation package, and then the Senate bill.

For more, follow our up-to-the-minute reports in the Countdown to Reform Wire.

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