October 13th, 2009
01:16 PM ET

Once Senate panel votes, another tough battle begins

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/13/senate.health.care/art.capital2.gi.jpg caption="The Democratic leadership in both legislative chambers soon will work to meld health care legislation."]
Ted Barrett and Ed Hornick

The Senate Finance Committee began final deliberations on its $829 billion health care reform plan Tuesday, setting the stage for likely passage of the sweeping legislation.

Once the committee clears the bill, however, the focus will quickly shift to the closed doors of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's ornate Capitol suite.

Behind those doors is where the Nevada Democrat must merge the conservative-leaning Finance Committee legislation with a more liberally drawn bill approved by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The Finance Committee debate is expected to go all day Tuesday before a vote. The committee - with 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans - is expected to pass the legislation. It's unclear whether the bill will get any Republican support, though Sen. Olympia Snowe, a moderate from Maine, has signaled she is willing to work with Democrats.

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Filed under: Health Care • Ted Barrett
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