Obama, Dems on track for pre-Christmas health bill

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is calling a Senate health care vote, "a big victory for the American people."

All 58 Democrats and two independents put the bill on a course to pass before Christmas.

It still faces two more votes, the next of which is expected tomorrow morning.

For those who complain of the cost of the $1 trillion measure, Obama said the legislation "cuts our deficit by $132 billion the first 10 years, and by over a trillion in the second."

The GOP has denounced last-minute deals and concessions needed to scrape together the 60 votes.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, said they amounted to Congress "flipping a bird to the American people."

Majority Leader Harry Reid called Steele's comments "crass."

The Senate measure still must be melded with the health care bill passed by the House in November before final legislation can be sent to Obama's desk.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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