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Health bill passes key test in the Senate with 60 votes

New York Times, December 21, 2009

After a long day of acid, partisan debate, Senate Democrats held ranks early Monday in a dead-of-night procedural vote that proved they had locked in the decisive margin needed to pass a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's healthcare system. The roll was called shortly after 1 a.m., with Washington still snowbound after a weekend blizzard, and the Senate voted on party lines to cut off a Republican filibuster of a package of changes to the health care bill by the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. The vote was 60 to 40—a tally that is expected to be repeated four times as further procedural hurdles are cleared in the days ahead, and then once more in a dramatic, if predictable, finale tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve.