Early on Monday, Democrats rallied the support of all 58 of Senate Democtrats and their two Independent allies to overcome a Republican filibuster on the first procedural vote of their comprehensive health care reform bill.
To get to that vote, Democratic leaders in the past week have also overcome the concerns of moderate senators Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, while keeping the support of liberal senators like Bernie Sanders. But they have lost the backing of the liberal grassroots along the way.
Some liberal senators, however, are only begrudgingly agreeing to this week's big health care vote -- blaming President Obama for not sufficiently supporting liberal causes.
But the big news is that Democrats are now poised to officially pass the bill on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24., CBS News reports.
It was also reported, Senate Republicans lined up Saturday to decry the latest deal targeted toward Nebraska, which was decried as the "cornhusker kickback."
"Votes have been bought," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said.
But Senate Democrats said the payoffs are nothing unusual, and in fact typical.
"People fight for their own states. That's the nature of a democracy," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on "Fox News Sunday," defending Nelson against withering attacks from the GOP.
"This is just part of the normal legislative process," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
As a measure of just how typical they are, a slew of payoffs and concessions have been struck over the past several months, FOXNews reports.
News agencies also report, an agreement on the compromise to bring Sen. Ben Nelson, the final Democratic holdout, onboard with the legislation, was announced Saturday morning. But today's vote signaled that all Democrats will support the bill.
Nelson secured a special break for his state's contributions on Medicaid funding, protected some Nebraska insurers from a new tax in the bill and got Democratic leaders to agree on slightly tougher restrictions on how abortions could be offered in insurance plans under the bill.
McCain criticized Democrats for providing concessions to a few Democrats, such as Nelson, who had been skeptical of the bill, saying it would cost people in other states.
"This was behind closed doors," McCain said. "The Republicans were never brought in to the negotiations and this is what you get -- a split country -- where the American people are opposed to what we're doing and opposed to us," ABC News reports.
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