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Senate Passes Health Care Bill

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Dec 24, 2009 3:45PM

President Obama's health care bill is a step closer to reality after passing the U.S. Senate early this morning by a 60-39 vote (the missing vote was Jim Bunning, R-KY). Not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill. Upon the passage, President Obama addressed the press, saying, "we are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people."

Obama's opponent from the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took a swipe at the President and his adopted home town, calling the deal-making that bought enough votes for passage, "an exercise in sleazy Chicago-style sausage making." McCain's comments were the latest in what the New York Times calls, "a new partisan vitriol." The only Republican in either chamber to vote in favor of the reform was Congressman Joseph Cao from New Orleans. (Our own Sen. Roland Burris - who has tried to regain any sort of relevancy by making noise about not supporting the bill - voted in favor of it.)

There's still a lot of work ahead and plenty more vitriol to come. Congressional Dems are skeptical they can get the bill passed by the time of Obama's State of the Union. There are large differences between the House and Senate versions that have to be hashed out before the bill moves on to the President's desk. The NY Times has a comprehensive topic-by-topic breakdown of the differences between the bills. Some lawmakers, including our own Dick Durbin, are wary of the recent push.

Per Politico:

“Let's be very honest about this, we need a break,” Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said. “We need a break to get home to our families, to repair some relationships with our spouses, and to relax and recharge and come back. And I think we'll have a much more positive outcome after that break. But it does take time away in January. It may mean that this will take a little longer.”

And after a year of deadlines for action that came and went - the August recess, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, the end of year - Durbin swore them off. “No. Nope. No deadlines. Boy, I have I learned that. I've announced three or four solemn deadlines during the course of this and had to eat my words every time so I'm finished with deadlines,” he said.

The Congressional Budget Office - a nonpartisan group - says the current bill would cost $871 billion over 10 years, reducing the federal deficit by $132 billion.