Senate to vote on health amendments over weekend

The Senate will hold votes on amendments to its healthcare reform bill on Saturday and Sunday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday.

In addition to debating several amendments over the unusual full-weekend session, Reid indicated that Senate Democrats may convene for a caucus meeting to discuss the healthcare bill Sunday.

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When the Senate meets Saturday at 10 a.m., debate will commence on an amendment sponsored by Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) to limit compensation for health insurance executives and an unspecified Republican amendment; votes are slated for about 2:30 p.m. Further amendments will be debated Sunday starting around noon, with votes scheduled for around 6 p.m.

This plan is tentative, however. Though Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not object to Reid's proposal, Republicans retain the right to delay the votes.

Two major issues, how to prevent federal money from being spent on abortion services and whether to create a government-run public option health insurance program, continue to divide the Democratic caucus. Democrats continued throughout Friday to work on compromises to both issues but neither will likely be debated on the Senate floor over the weekend.