In a 60-39 split reflecting the party division in the Senate, the Democrats won a vote to bring the latest compromise health care reform bill to the full floor of the Senate for debate and the inevitable amendments. This sets the stage for a highly politicised, very public debate over US President Barack Obama’s signal domestic policy agenda. As the bill stands, it would extend health coverage to 31 million people who lack it now, crack down on medical insurance companies that deny or dilute benefits and attempt to curtail the overall national growth of spending on medical care. Just before the vote itself, the Senate majority leader, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid accused Republicans of trying to prevent a historic debate, while the Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the vote was anything but procedural, arguing it was a referendum on raising taxes, cutting Medicare and adding to the government’s debt. In the end, it was Democratic senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas who joined with 56 other Democrats and two independents to make the difference. The motion needed a “supermajority” of 60 to pass. For more read the AP
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