Healthcare Bill Passes Key Senate Hurdle

12.21.09 | FL News Team

All 60 Democrats in the U.S. Senate made it through the snow to help push for an overhaul of the nation's healthcare system. Just after 1:00 a.m. Eastern time, Democrats secured the 60 votes needed to break a Republican filibuster in the first of three procedural hurdles. They were virtually assured victory on Saturday when they got the backing of Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, the last holdout in the majority party.

 There will now be two more procedural votes to end debate on the bill, which goes to a final vote on Christmas Eve. If the measure passes in the Senate, it must still be reconciled with a House bill that includes a government-run insurance option as well as much tougher language on the subject of abortions. A merged version of the two bills would then have to pass each chamber once more before making its way to President Obama's desk.