WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate Finance Committee passed a long-awaited $829 billion health care bill Tuesday by a 14-9 vote.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was the lone committee member to cross party lines, breaking with other Republicans to vote for the measure.
All of the committee's Democrats supported the bill.
The vote represents a pivotal step forward in the contentious health care debate. The Finance Committee is the last of five congressional panels to consider health care legislation before debate begins in the full House and Senate.
If the House and Senate both manage to pass health care reform bills, a conference committee will then negotiate a final version requiring approval from both chambers before going to President Barack Obama for his signature.