On the Senate floor right now, Sen. Bernie Sanders is speaking after having pulled his single payer amendment from consideration. Tom Coburn had forced Senate clerks to read the entire 767-page amendment on the floor, a delaying tactic which would have lasted long into the night.
The Senate leadership made clear that the obstructionism would directly threaten not the health care bill, where the manager’s amendment has not been prepared yet, but the defense appropriations bill, which the Senate wanted to pass tonight after getting the conference report from the House. Dick Durbin, in a news conference, tried to put pressure on Republicans by saying their delay tactic would stop funding for the troops. But apparently the leadership must have gotten spooked that their timeline was slipping, and pressured Sanders to withdraw the amendment, which even he said was more symbolic than anything. This is more about passing the defense appropriations bill than anything.