Merry Christmas! Senate Health Care Reform Bill Passes Final Hurdle: 60-39
December 24, 2009
(ChattahBox)—-After weeks of contentious debate and flared tempers, the Senate convened on Thursday morning for a rare, early morning session on Christmas Eve day. Shortly after 7:00 AM, the Senate held the final vote for passage of the health care reform bill, after a week of procedural motions that were subjected to Republican filibusters, forcing Democrats to hold the final vote on Christmas Eve. All 60 members of the Democratic caucus voted yes, with all 39 Republicans present voting no. Republican Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky was not present for the historic vote.
The vote went along party lines, as expected, but there was one surprising moment during the voting early this morning. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), accidentaly responded “no” during the Christmas Eve voice vote. When he realized his mistake, he bowed his head down in disbelief, while the Senate chamber chuckled. Reid quickly corrected his vote to yes.
No doubt, Sen. Reid is exhausted from the long and gruelling process to pass the health care bill that has been in debate for three weeks. The arduous process required early morning and late night votes to combat Republican filibusters, in order to pass the bill before the Christmas recess.
The bill will now go back to the House, where it will be reconciled with the House’s version of health reform in committee, when Congress reconvenes in January.
During a press conference after the historic vote, Reid joked that he mistakenly voted no in the spirit of bipartisanship. Reid said that he looked forward to working with the House to merge the two bills and deliver a final piece of legislation for President Obama to sign in January.
Sens. Schumer, Dodd, Durbin and Baucus spoke briefly after Reid, invoking the spirit of former Senator Ted Kennedy and praising Harry Reid’s leadership.