Senate Aims to Have Healthcare Passed by Christmas

2010 Senate schedule banks on healthcare approval by Christmas.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Senate leaders today distributed the 2010 legislative calendar, and top aides said it was written with the expectation that healthcare reform will be completed in the chamber by the end of the year. To push things along, leaders are hinting at a Christmas week work session, a tactic that is expected to prod lawmakers to a final vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's package by the end of next week.

"They've been threatening that for a month now, and frankly, I think the more we hear about it, the more it becomes less real—sort of like crying big, bad wolf," said a leadership aide. "The truth is that no one wants to be here Christmas week, and that, more than anything, is motivating people to get it done. If healthcare does not get done, the schedule won't hold. We'll be back in early, and it will be some terrible slog," the aide continued. "But if we get it done, and I think we'll have to because we need to give Obama that victory, then this should hold, and next year, at least in terms of time in session, will be lighter, especially as we draw closer to the election."

According to the schedule, the second session of the 111th Congress opens January 5 for a pro forma meeting. Overall, 24 pre-election weeks of work are planned. Here's the schedule:

2010 Calendar - 111th Second Session

Convene 2nd Session - 111th Congress - Tuesday, January 5 - pro forma only
(January 3 is Sunday)

Reconvene Tuesday, January 19 (Monday, January 18 is M.L. King holiday)

(January 19 - February 12  — (4 week work period)

Recess President ' s Day (February 15-19 - holiday Monday, February 15)

February 22 - March 26  — (5 week work period)

Spring/Easter recess (March 29 - April 9)
            (Passover begins March 30, ends Monday, April 5; Good Friday, April 2; Easter April 4)

April 12 - May 28 — (7 week work period)

Memorial Day recess (May 31 - June 4) (Memorial Day -  May 31)

June 7 - July 2 - (4 week work period)

Independence Day recess (July 5 - July 9)

July 12 - August 6 - (4 week work period)

August recess (August 9 - September 10)
            (Labor Day, Monday, September 6)
            (Rosh Hashana, begins sundown September 8 and ends sundown September 9)
            (Yom Kippur, begins sundown September 17 and ends sundown September 18)

Reconvene, Monday, September 13
Columbus Day, Monday, October 11
Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11
Target adjournment - TBD

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