Barack Obama says he will delay his Christmas holiday while his supporters in the Senate attempt to push through his healthcare reform plan.
The US president had been expected to leave for Hawaii for a festive break while his fellow Democrats in the Senate cleared the second of three 60 vote hurdles despite unanimous Republican opposition
President Obama said: “I will not leave until my friends in the Senate have completed their work. My attitude is, if they are making these sacrifices to provide healthcare to all Americans, the least I can do is be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help where necessary.” A third vote will take place on Christmas Eve.
The healthcare fight has consumed Congress for months, launching a round of intense political horse trading as Republicans did their utmost to delay the passage of the bill.
If it is passed the Senate bill will then have to be melded with a version ratified by the House of Representatives in November, which both chambers must again approve before it is put before Obama to sign in January.
Republicans fear the healthcare reform – requiring most Americans to have insurance – is unworkable and will cost the state too much.