The Senate plans a vote Thursday at 11 a.m. on whether to cut off debate on the effort to proceed to gun control legislation.
If it gets the required 60 votes, considered likely, "there's no reason not to start legislation," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Wednesday. If the vote succeeds, there could still be 30 hours of debate.
Reid hoped not. "I hope we don't have to go through this procedural mishmash," he said. "Somebody has something to say, come say it."
Next would come amendments, on an assault weapons ban, restricting magazine clips and more. That process is expected to take about two more weeks. The first amendment will involve the compromise on background checks announced Wednesday.
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Reid was not concerned with how long the process takes. The key, he said, is "Are we going to legislate the right way?"