Moments ago, the Senate voted 60–40 to end the Republican filibuster of the manager’s amendment to the Senate health care bill, clearing an important hurdle to passing health care reform before the end of the year.
The Senators voted from their desks — a customary practice reserved for the most significant votes. Once the presiding president read the final tally, Democrats rushed over to congratulate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
This bill “acknowledges finally that health care is a fundamental right,” Reid said before the vote. It’s “a human right, not just a privilege for the most fortunate.” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) insisted that “this is not the end of health care reform. It’s the beginning. But we must make this beginning in order to fulfill that dream and really make health care a right, not a privilege.”
Harkin recalled Sen.Ted Kennedy’s influence over the process, reminding his colleagues that health care reform was Kennedy’s life work. “There is really only one author of this bill, Sen. Ted Kennedy, it’s his bill.”
“The other side says fear, we say hope. The other side says no way, we say yes. We say yes to progress, yes to people, yes to health care as an inalienable right for every American citizen,” Harkin insisted.
The Senate will vote on Tuesday, December 22nd at 7am to adopt the amendment and will hold another cloture vote on the Reid substitute — the Senate’s version of the health care bill. On Wednesday December 23 at 1pm, the Senate will vote to adopt the substitute and to invoke cloture on the underlining bill. A final vote on the Senate bill is scheduled for Thursday, December 24th at 7pm. It requires a simple majority.