updated 12/22/2009 3:32:54 PM ET 2009-12-22T20:32:54

The end is near. The Senate has scheduled a vote on final passage of its health care overhaul bill for around 8 a.m. on Thursday, Christmas Eve.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced the agreement on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, after working out the details with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Since the Democrats lined up the 60 votes needed prevail in the Senate, they have been shutting down Republican opposition to their 10-year, nearly $1 trillion bill to expand coverage and try to slow increasing medical costs.

Passage would set the stage for negotiations to resolve differences with the House-passed bill.

The Senate will also vote Thursday to give final congressional approval to a two-month increase in the federal debt limit.

The measure, earlier approved by the House of Representatives, would provide a $290 billion hike in the debt limit, which is now at $12.1 trillion.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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