Senate votes on health care bill, passes 60-40

Washington

Breaking News: The U.S. Senate voted shortly after 1:00 A.M. on the health care reform bill. This bill, which must pass through other votes, the last scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Christmas Eve, passed Monday 60-40.

The New York Times:

The 1 a.m. Monday vote was on a motion to cut off debate on Mr. Reid’s manager’s package. A simple majority vote to approve the package is scheduled for roughly 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

The middle-of-the night session had a surreal quality to it. The chaplain, Barry C. Black, who opened the contentious Sunday session of the Senate with a prayer, did so again at 12:01 a.m. to officially begin a new legislative day.

For many Democrats, the landmark vote summoned the memory of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a champion of universal health care for his entire career, but who died in August before achieving that goal.

“Health care in America ought to be a right, not a privilege,” said Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. “Since the time of Harry Truman, every Congress, Republican and Democrat, every president, Democrat and Republican, have at least thought about doing this. Some actually tried.”

Republicans said that the bill was fatally flawed and that voters would retaliate against Democrats at the polls in November.

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