The Senate’s version of healthcare reform legislation was narrowly passed by the House Sunday evening after President Obama struck a late deal with Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) and other pro-life Democrats, promising to issue an executive order clarifying abortion language in the bill.
After a dramatic week of impassioned debate and feverous name calling from both sides of the aisle, the Senate bill cleared the House by a 219-212 vote. A total of 34 dissident Democrats joined every House Republican in opposing the legislation.
Later in the evening, a second measure – which makes changes to the recently approved bill – was quickly passed by a margin of 220-211. That piece of legislation will now move to the Senate, which can approve the bill by a simple 51-vote majority by using the parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation.
A jubilant President Obama was relieved that his hallmark campaign measure, which seemed dead only a few months ago, is all but assured to be signed into law in the near future.
“We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests,” the president said. “We didn’t give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans leaders said that the now inevitable passage of healthcare reform legislation defies the wishes of the American people.
“We have failed to listen to America,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner. “This body moves forward against their will. Shame on us.”