Wednesday: Senate hoping for a debt ceiling vote

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The Senate starts at 9:30 a.m., and is looking to make progress on the House-passed debt-ceiling bill.

Before leaving Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes to schedule a time to vote on the bill, which passed the House 221-201, mostly on the strength of Democratic support.

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The snowstorm that is expected to hit Washington, D.C., Wednesday night may force the issue, and get senators to agree to a quick vote before leaving town for recess.

One possible wrinkle is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who said he would force a 60-vote majority on the bill, which doesn't make any spending concessions. However, the Senate is likely to easily have the 60 votes necessary to advance it and pass it.

Before any debt-ceiling vote, the Senate is expected to hold up to four roll call votes on Executive Branch nominations. These votes will start at 11:30 a.m.

The nominations are Tina Kaidanow to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Dan Smith to be assistant secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, Cathy Novelli to be U.S. Alternate Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank, and also under secretary of State.

The House is already gone for the week, and depending on the weather, the Senate might also be done after Wednesday. As of Tuesday night, there were predictions of up to 8 inches of snow — 16 times the amount needed to cripple the city.

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