SENATE APPROVES RECONCILIATION PACKAGE, HOUSE UP NEXT…. Right on schedule for a change, the Senate completed its work on health care reform this afternoon, voting 56 to 43 to approve the pending reconciliation package.

I’ll post the roll call once it’s up, but three Democrats — Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln, and Arkansas’ Mark Pryor — voted with Republicans in the up-or-down vote. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is in the hospital and did not vote. (Remember, the GOP couldn’t filibuster the reconciliation measure, so 60 votes were not needed.)

As they did in December, senators voted one at a time, from their desks, as is often the case on historic pieces of legislation.

Before the vote, the Senate held a moment of silence to honor Ted Kennedy.

The measure now heads to the House for one final vote.

More soon.

Update: I guess those concerns that the Senate would screw over the House were unfounded after all.

Second Update: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters earlier that officials are “quite confident” that the reconciliation package “will be approved rather quickly by the House.”

Third Update: The outcome in the House does not appear to be in doubt. “This is quite benign in terms of any change that could be made to the legislation,” Speaker Pelosi told reporters this morning. “Of all the things that they could send back, this is probably the most benign.”

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said House approval will likely come this evening.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.