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Cloture Vote on Doc Fix at 2 p.m. Today

Just announced from the office of Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the upper chamber will vote this afternoon to bring to the floor a $245 billion proposal scrapping the formula by which doctors are paid to treat Medicare patients.

A Senate leadership aide says the vote is expected to fail. The reason? The bill is unfunded, and Republicans are already lining up against in opposition to the idea of adding a quarter of a trillion more to the debt, while several Democrats are vowing their disapproval as well.

Question is, will the doctors lobby sign on to health reform without it?

*A note: We reported on Friday that the bill would come straight to the floor without a cloture vote. And at the time, that was the thinking among Democratic leaders. Since then, however, the negotiations over amendments to the bill broke down. And Republican leaders, believing the doc-fix bill should be paid for, have now made a political calculation to oppose the bill outright. Hence, today’s cloture vote. *

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