War over Health Bill Is Not Over

Congress may be gone for several weeks enjoying a winter holiday.

Republicans, however, have vowed to gin up opposition to the Senate health insurance overhaul during Congress' winter break.

The Senate battle may be over for now, but Republicans are vowing the war is not won quite yet.

Congress may be gone for several weeks enjoying a winter holiday, but Republicans have vowed to keep up the pressure on Democrats who succeeded in getting their Senate health insurance overhaul bill passed before Christmas -- if just barely.

Several GOP lawmakers say they are still hoping to peel back support for the bill among budget-minded Democrats who are certain to hear from furious constituents over the long break about the overwhelming cost of the $871 billion, 10-year legislation.

"This is not over," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told Fox News. "We are going to work, asking people to talk to their senators, make them face the music. The American people don't support this effort for government to run health care," FOXNews reports.

It was also reported, the last time the Senate voted on Christmas Eve, in 1895, it represented a moment of national reconciliation, as lawmakers agreed to lift a ban on federal officers who had joined the Confederacy from serving in the post-Civil War military.

“No Animosity Remaining,” proclaimed a celebratory front-page headline in The New York Times the next day.

The same could not be declared about Thursday’s vote approving a bitterly contested health care overhaul at the end of an exhausting 25-day legislative journey. It was the second-longest consecutive stretch in Senate annals and one that severely strained the traditions of collegiality that underpin the institution.

Beneath the bright red jackets, blouses and holiday ties donned to signify the exceedingly rare occasion of a sunrise session the day before Christmas, real tension remained over the merits of the proposal passed along hardened party lines as well as over how the debate unfolded, with its odd postmidnight and early morning votes, The New York Times reports.

News agencies also report, in advance of formal talks, Democratic leaders are stressing the need to come up with a consensus that can deliver health care security and quality while controlling short and longer-term costs.

Republicans have made clear they will continue to underscore what they call the long-term deficit and debt risks for the economy of the legislation President Obama hopes to be able to sign not too far into the new year, Voice of America reports.

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