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A massive, earth-shattering victory for Republicans today:

Senate Republicans have identified two minor violations of reconciliation rules in the final piece of the health-care package. The violations will force the Senate to change the reconciliation bill and ship it to the House of Representatives for final passage.

….Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said one of the deleted provisions was a technical item that he considered “as close to a ‘nothing’ as you can come around here.” The second, more substantive provision would have set a formula for establishing maximum Pell Grant awards. But Conrad said the formula would not have taken effect for two years, giving Congress time to restore it in another bill.

[Senate parliamentarian Alan] Frumin deemed both measures to be out of order because they had no budget implications, Conrad said Thursday. The senator said no other Republican challenges to the legislation were still pending before Frumin, raising Democratic hopes that the Senate would take a final vote within hours.

Well, that’s what passes for a massive, earth-shattering victory among the Republican base these days, anyway. I’m sure the GOP is proud of its role in delaying passage of the reconciliation rider for another 24 hours or so.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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