Democrats fight for a health care vote before Christmas break - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Democrats fight for a health care vote before Christmas break

Sen. Max Baucus Sen. Max Baucus
Sen. Ben Nelson Sen. Ben Nelson
Sen. John Kyl Sen. John Kyl
Sen. Mary Landrieu Sen. Mary Landrieu
Sen. Roland Burris Sen. Roland Burris

by Steve Handelsman

WASHINGTON (NBC) - Health care reform stayed on track Tuesday in the US Senate, and Democrats still vow to give the nation final passage as a Christmas present.

Three days 'til Christmas and senate Republicans and Democrats are still battling over health care. On the Senate floor Tuesday morning it was another party line procedural vote. 60 to 39.

The Democrats' health care bill moves forward.

"We're not the first to attempt such reform but we will be the first to succeed, Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana.

But party unity has a price.

In return for his yes vote, Democrat Ben Nelson is getting a hundred million dollars in health care aid just for Nebraska.

Republicans call it sleazy. They say the Democrats' bill will lead to federal control, even though the public option's been killed.

"The American people get it. The bill itself is the government option but in government they do not trust," said Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.

Democrats say the public wants their plan.

"That the will of the majority spoke last year when they elected president Obama to be president," said Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Mr. Obama will delay his holiday trip home to Hawaii to stay in Washington and help.

"I will not leave until my friends in the Senate have completed their work," the President said.

Republican's aren't quitting, if they get one Democrat's vote they stop the bill.

"It was the night before Christmas, and all through the Senate," said Illinois Democrat, Senator Roland Burris.

Not a compromise stirring. It could be last minute. A final Senate vote on health care the night before Christmas.

Then comes another hard part, reconciling the Senate and House bills.

President Obama wanted it done by New Years but insiders here say no way.

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