It has begun. The Senate voted last night to begin formal debate of the Senate Bill (52-48).  The official legislative text under consideration – S.1 – is identical to the legislative text released last Tuesday, except that it also includes a package of oil drilling provisions added by the Senate Budget Committee earlier this week (view the bill here – we also ran a PDF comparison against last Tuesday’s text, which is available here).

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 10:30 this morning to continue debate, and a number of Senators filed amendments over night (a total of 72, as of midnight). Under the budget reconciliation rules, Senate debate is limited to 20 hours, but any Senator can ask for a formal vote on an amendment at the end of debate. It is going to be an interesting day.