The Senate on Thursday afternoon passed amendments to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They used the budget reconciliation process, in which Republicans couldn't filibuster. The final tally was 56 to 43, with three Democrats (Lincoln, Nelson, and Prior) voting against one Republican (Isakson) absent due to illness.

Republicans were successful at challenging, and striking, two provisions because of parliamentary rules. As such, the bill must go back to the House for final approval there. But neither change affected health care reform. And only one was meaningful--a provision about adjusting Pell Grant levels that Democrats said they would introduce separately.

The House should be able to approve the reconciliation bill with ease, as early as Friday.

Amazing what the Democrats can do when they put their minds to it, isn't it?