Obama: Senate vote on health care a 'big victory' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obama: Senate vote on health care a 'big victory'

WASHINGTON. - President Barack Obama is hailing a Senate vote to propel health care legislation toward final passage, calling it a "big victory for the American people."
     
By the thinnest possible margin, all 58 Democrats and the Senate's two independents held together early Monday in a crucial test vote against unanimous Republican opposition. The move overcame a procedural effort that could have scuttled a final vote on the massive bill.
     
Obama said the Senate showed it could stand up to special interests and move the nation closer to a health insurance overhaul for families.
     
He said the bill would reduce the deficit long term, countering criticism that the legislation is too expensive.
     
The Senate is on pace to pass the bill before Christmas.

McCain blasts dealmaking

There are two more procedural votes ahead in the Senate, including one tomorrow morning, on the way to expected passage of health care reform by Christmas Eve.
     
The measure would still have to be harmonized with a House measure that differs in several key areas. The House version, for one thing, has a government-run insurance plan.
    
As expected, Senate Democrats won a key vote overnight, along party lines.
     
Republican Sen. John McCain is criticizing the dealmaking that took place in order to win key votes on health care reform.
     
McCain told ABC that there were "Bernie Madoff gimmicks" taking place. And he says Republicans "were never brought in to the negotiations."

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