Indonesian official admits vessel was overloadedAnglican head troubled by Vatican stance on disaffectedExit polls give Romanian president a narrow leadAttack on train part of Maoist campaign to wrest control over large parts of IndiaUK floods claim second victim as emergency supplies deliveredFort Hood gunman Hasan paralysedLARA MARLOWE in WashingtonWITH THE US Senate’s approval of a motion to proceed on Saturday, US president Barack Obama’s chief domestic priority passed what the president’s office called “a critical milestone” on the road to healthcare reform.
The House voted its version of healthcare legislation on November 7th. Saturday night’s Senate vote was necessary because the Republican minority has triggered unending debates intended to delay legislation – standard practice for filibustering.
With the requisite filibuster-blocking 60 votes, the Senate will now begin debating the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act after the Thanksgiving holiday recess. Senate majority leader Harry Reid hopes to bring the Bill to a vote before Christmas.
But Mr Obama’s goal of a healthcare Bill by the end of the year will not be met. Even if the Senate manages to vote before Christmas, House and Senate versions must then be merged in conference. Both houses of Congress would then have to vote on the resulting legislation before the text is signed by the president. Democrats now hope this can be achieved before the State of the Union address in late January"
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