US Congress passes health overhaul
US: The US Congress passed an historic health care overhaul late
Sunday, handing President Barack Obama a landmark win and taking the
United States closer than ever to guaranteed coverage for all Americans.
The Democratic-held House of Representatives voted 219-212 to approve
a Senate-passed bill aimed at extending coverage to 32 million Americans
who currently lack it in the most sweeping social policy shift in four
|* It gives
President Barack Obama a landmark win.
* A guaranteed coverage for all
“Tonight we answered the call of history as so many Americans have
before us. We did not avoid our responsibility we embraced it. We did
not fear our future, we shaped it,” Obama said in brief remarks shortly
after the vote.
The president, who was expected to sign the bill into law within
days, praised lawmakers for defying the predictions of pundits that the
mammoth bill must collapse in the face of political setbacks and
unyielding partisan rifts.
Tired after a week in which he met or spoke to nearly 100 lawmakers,
but evidently savoring a hard-fought triumph on his top domestic goal,
Obama told the US public: “This is what change looks like.”
As the vote count crept past the 216 needed to ensure passage,
Democrats clapped, cheered, hugged, high-fived, and called out Obama’s
“Yes, we can” 2008 campaign slogan.
All 178 Republicans and 34 conservative Democrats opposed the
measure, spurred on by hundreds of protesters who chanted “Kill the
bill” during a loud day-long vigil outside the Capitol.
With Vice President Joe Biden at his side, Obama acknowledged
Republican warnings that Democrats would pay a steep political price in
November mid-term elections that will decide control of the US Congress.
“I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the
right vote,” said the President, who has vowed to help Democrats in
swinging districts to win reelection.
The Senate was now to take up a free-standing packages of changes,
which the House approved 220-211, as early as Tuesday in a bid to
complete its work on the overhaul.