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Senate leaders set health-care vote for Saturday evening

WASHINGTON D.C. — It was always noon in the O.K. Corral, but here it’s Saturday evening.

Senate Democratic leaders have set the time for the first official showdown over health care reform in that chamber — 7 p.m. central time. The vote is on a procedural motion to bring the 2,074-page health-care bill to the floor for debate, and 60 votes are needed.

Spokespeople with Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today said the two will be among those voting in favor of the motion to proceed — though that was never really in doubt. The big question is whether or not a year-long courting of three centrist Democrats — Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska — and of Maine Republican Olympia Snowe will pay off.

Following this vote, proponents will again have to clear the 60-vote hurdle to end debate and then find a majority on the final vote. Neither of those two votes have been scheduled.

Both Franken and Klobuchar are scheduled to deliver remarks on the floor Saturday in favor of advancing the legislation; Franken at 2 p.m. and Klobuchar at 4:10 p.m.

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