Senate sets course to work through Dec. 18 on healthcare reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidTrump flirts with Dems for Cabinet Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says MORE (D-Nev.) announced Thursday morning that the Senate would vote soon to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until Dec. 18.

The measure, which is attached to a final bill funding the Interior Department, will receive a vote in the Senate Thursday or Friday. 

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Congress has passed four of its 12 annual spending bills: the Commerce-Justice-Science bill, the Energy and Water bill, the Homeland Security bill and the Legislative Branch bill.

Administration officials such as Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenObama promotes bipartisan cures bill Democrats miss warning signs, even in blue Maryland Biden to sit down with Colbert next week MORE had expressed hope that Congress would pass healthcare reform by Thanksgiving, but lawmakers are now hoping to get it done by Christmas.

Senate Democratic leaders are waiting for a cost analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before beginning floor debate on healthcare reform. In the run-up to the formal debate, Democrats and Republicans have taken to the Senate floor to argue for and against provisions in the bill.

House Democratic leaders unveiled their healthcare bill on Thursday, setting the stage for a floor debate in that chamber next week.