Republicans expect a final vote on healthcare around the easter holiday this year, the Senate's second-ranking Republican said Monday night.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said he expected Democratic leaders to arrange their final votes on health reform to but up against lawmakers' recess for the Easter and Passover holidays.

"This thing is losing support every day," Kyl said during an interview on Fox News. "And I think what they'll try to do is move it up against the Easter recess so that the members won't have time to go home and have a full recess period before they take the vote."


The House and Senate calendars calls for a district work period from March 29 through April 9, giving lawmakers a full two weeks off for the holiday season.

But there's plenty of examples of Democratic leaders holding major votes right before recess periods, especially on healthcare. The Senate, for instance, held the vote to pass its healthcare bill early in the morning on Christmas Eve last year. 

Kyl argued that if Democrats let their members go home for the break without a vote, it could mean a tide of constituents prevailing against the reform package.

"If they run up to the vote and then have a recess, they go home, they're going to get an earful from their constituents," Kyl said. "I don't think they could pass it, then, when they got back from recess."

"So my guess is the Speaker is going to make them stay here and vote for it before they have a chance to go back home and talk to their constituents about it," the minority whip added.

If true, the schedule would set up a busy and contentious March in Congress, with Democrats hoping to finally finish health reform, which has dominated their legislative agenda for months.