December 23rd, 2009
04:45 PM ET
9 months ago

Senate health bill clears last procedural hurdle


Washington (CNN) - The Senate health care bill cleared a third and final procedural hurdle Wednesday as Democrats successfully limited remaining debate time on the $871 billion measure.

The Senate voted 60-39 along party lines to set a timetable for likely passage of the bill early Thursday morning.

Democrats also turned back last-ditch motions from Republicans claiming various provisions in the bill, including a mandate that individuals purchase coverage, are unconstitutional.

"It's long past time we declare health care a right and not a privilege," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said after the vote.

"Today is a victory ... for American families," proclaimed Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana. "Americans won."

The expected victory for President Obama's top domestic priority comes after nearly a year of sharply polarized deliberations on Capitol Hill. Any measure passed by the Senate, however, will still have to be merged with a $1 trillion plan approved by the House of Representatives in November.

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Filed under: Health care • Senate
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Kelly

    Sorry GOP, you took a gamble on it not being able to pass and it seems like you are about to lose.

    In the great words of Kenny Rogers, "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

    December 23, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Voted4HealthCare

    After a long-awaited process for many Americans, the health legislation appears close to passage in the Senate.

    Looking forward to conference with the House version where improvements can be made for the American people!

    December 23, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. marc from mississippi

    The democrats and their leadership should be totally ashamed of themselves. They could not get a single opposition party vote on this. A bill of this magnitude deserves more than these hardball tactics. This is definitely NOT government at its best.

    December 23, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Quotes from the Democratic Senate?

    The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.

    December 23, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. annie s

    Hallelujah!

    December 23, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. John

    Everyone of those Dem senators should be voted out

    December 23, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. gwen

    @uncle ellsworthey

    No you are misinformed, the american people want a healthcare reform bill – the majority of americans who are unhappy with this one are unhappy because it doesn't include a public option, but like myself we'll take what we can get and work towards a public option or universal health care which would bring down the deficit and take a big burden off businesses and would make american goods (cars) more competive because the companies wouldn't be saddled with the expense of covering their employees!! The tea baggers and all the other NO people are the misinformed and uneducated people. Yeah for the Dems and Obama – now lets make it even better for americans!!

    December 23, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. vwrtb

    Thanks republicans for no support... Some people are born human... Others take a lifetime to get there... Thank you so much dems!

    December 23, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. dustin

    if it was 60 to 39, who is the one not voting, or is a seat un-filled? Someone sick? just curious.

    December 23, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. L for Legend

    Down with the party of no, who need them?

    December 23, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Jasmine in Germany

    I am grateful to the President for his perseverance in the matter of getting the US back up to international First World standards regarding the health and health system of the citizens of a nation. This has been long overdue in the US. For the "Naysayers": health insurance reform will save the taxpayer money, and contribute to building a healthier society. What's wrong with that? In case you heard otherwise, you have been misinformed.

    December 23, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Now, let's get rid of all the lobbyist and maybe that force these people in Washington to work for the people.

    December 23, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. vixenbiker

    I have not been sick in over 3 yrs or needed a doctor. Neither have my children..... I should not be forced to buy health insurance when I dont need it.

    December 23, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Ann-Virginia

    The Republican party has done everything in it's power since last Jan.to stop any hc bill from ever being passed.They have acted like 3yr.olds pouting because they can't get their way,lies about what's included in the hc plans to misinform Americans,lies about the President.Now Mitch McConnell has the nerve to say the Democrats are trying to rush it through & saying that the Democrats didn't try to include them.Liar,liar,liar....The President said from the day he took office that he wanted to work with the Republicans to get hc passed...they(republicans)were the ones who said "NO"to every effort to reach out to them,so how dare McConnell say anything to the contrary.He like so many other right wingers are so wrong.They will be blamed for trying to keep Americans from having affordable hc

    December 23, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. anna

    Like an ol saing goes..."somthing is better than nothing"!! Remember people there has been no kind of health care reform in 50 years!!!

    December 23, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Bryan

    Why don't the Republicans just admit what they're against instead of hiding behind constitutional stuff like they were? Just admit it, you Republicans are just against middle and low class people being able to get health coverage and live, god forbid. The message to the less fortunate people in the US is "Die quickly". Oh wait I forgot a part of the message, let me try again......to the poor and middle class "Die quickly, but if you have any savings be sure to write a will and leave the money to the rich." I can't wait until that party either dies off or becomes more moderate like John McCain.

    December 23, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Brian from NJ

    After all the screaming and yelling and name calling and back door deals and special interests lobbying and ignoring the economy and killing jobs... this is the best the Senate can do??? And we pay these idiots! I want my money back!

    And Barack Obama, who broke at least a dozen campaign promises to get this done, should be ashamed of himself for dragging the country into this mire. If he had been a leader of ALL the people (not just his supporters) a lot of the vitriol could have been avoided. Yes, the Reps acted badly, but so did the President. He could have, and should have, acted like a real leader and not just a union organizer fighting big business. His style of pointing fingers one day and then expecting cooperation the next day is unbecoming of the President of the United States!

    December 23, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Bryan

    I already deal with this plan in Mass. What's the difference? Thank you Mitt Romney for giving it to us, albeit a little bit messed up in this state.

    December 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Bee

    rachel December 23rd, 2009 4:52 pm ET

    I am very very sad right now. I wonder how much my taxes will go up.

    ________________________________________________________

    Ever wonder how much your taxes have gone up to pay for the illegal war in Iraq. I doubt it. At least with the health care bill some lives might be saved rather than lost.

    December 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Mike in MN

    The last hurdle for this stinker will be the 2010 and 2012 elections. If the House and Senate cram a health care refrom bill down the throats of voters who do not want it, Democrats will be voted out of power in 2010 and 2012 and Republicans or others who will promise to reverse this stinker will be voted in. Passing this piece of big government control crap does not mean it will stay in place long enough to really take effect. Democrats have to survive the 2010 and 2012 elections for thier Obamacare to survive.

    December 23, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Last Dem Standing

    This bill is more of the same, not CHANGE & HOPE. Obummer is selling out us Dems and more are too stupid to figure this bill is a piece of crap!

    Howard Dean was right! Back room deals, payoffs for Senators. Is this the new way of doing business in Washington? More BS from BO. Wake up dopes, something sticks big time!

    December 23, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Bedtime 4 Bonzo..........

    Anyone would insist Obama broke twelve campaign promises may have not graduated from the twelfth grade. Democratic style Governing calls for legistlative reform with new or modified policies to fix the broken ones. Republican style governing calls for dictatorship style "got cha'" politics proclaiming stubborness as an asset not to be confused with fixing what's broken for fear of being labeled a "flip flopper".....all to benefit the rich and cut from the bottom...........

    December 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Bee

    Mike in MN December 23rd, 2009 5:40 pm ET

    The last hurdle for this stinker will be the 2010 and 2012 elections. If the House and Senate cram a health care refrom bill down the throats of voters who do not want it, Democrats will be voted out of power in 2010 and 2012 and Republicans or others who will promise to reverse this stinker will be voted in. Passing this piece of big government control crap does not mean it will stay in place long enough to really take effect. Democrats have to survive the 2010 and 2012 elections for thier Obamacare to survive.

    -------------------------------–
    Puhlease!!!! "Ombacare" will survive just fine. Just as Social Security and Medicare have. The Blue Dog Dems are the only ones with anything to worry about in the next election cycle.

    December 23, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Jane/Seattle

    Too bad it can't clear the Public Option, Regulation of these Profiteers, and Stop Political Wrangling for OUR MONEY! Mandatory coverage without decent wages or regulation of these folks is NOTHING!

    December 23, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Eric

    I am all for a RESPONSIBLE health care bill but I hold my judgement on that issue until I can see the FINAL version... That aside, I am more than a little worried that the Commerce Clause seems to be once again wielded as a tool of force by Congress rather than as an instrument to ensure commercial fairness between the states as I (personally) believe it was intended.

    December 23, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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