Oh my: Lieberman out of town before crucial Senate vote as snowstorm moves in

Supposedly he’s in Connecticut for the Jewish sabbath, but come on. We all know he’s in Barbados. Laughing his ass off.

Already, they’ve wheeled in the cots for members and staff who choose to slumber party the night away in the Capitol, or Senate offices. But tomorrow, bright and early, all of them could need to be on hand for procedural reasons. For instance, Democrats expect to have to waive a budget point of order they expect Republicans to raise against the defense appropriations bill. That requires 60 votes…

“After being assured by Democratic and Republican leaders that his vote was not needed to pass the Defense Appropriations bill, Senator Lieberman went to Connecticut to spend the Sabbath and the last night of Hanukkah with his wife, Hadassah, and their children and grandchildren,” reads a statement to TPMDC from Lieberman’s spokesman Marshall Wittmann.

That means Democrats will be relying on at least one Republican to help them get the defense bill over a procedural bump in order to push them back on to health care. They’re crossing their fingers.

Cloture on the defense bill passed 63-33, with Collins, Snowe, and Kay Bailey Hutchison voting yes. With Lieberman gone, if all three flip to no on the budget point, the Senate will be paralyzed until Joementum gets back to D.C. to cast the 60th vote. Which, given Reid’s exacting timetable for passing health care on Christmas Eve, would cock up the whole schedule. Can the wonder twins from Maine do that much for us? They’re both voting no on cloture for ObamaCare and the defense bill is a fait accompli, so what do they have to gain by voting yes tomorrow morning? Delay, delay, delay.

Oh, and a friendly reminder from Politico: Not only are negotiations with Nelson expected to stretch long into the night, but we still don’t have a CBO score on whatever the hell it is that Reid’s planning to submit. Exit question: What exactly are they negotiating with Nelson? It sounds like they can’t give him anything more on abortion than the Casey language that he’s already rejected or else pro-choice senators will walk, so they must be either trying to buy him off or just weeping in front of him about “making history” and what not. How long does he need to make up his mind? He’s going to cave or he’s not. Let’s go already.