President Obama hailed the Senate Finance Committee's endorsement early this morning of a health care overhaul that follows most of his principles -- a major step in his push for reform.
“Thanks to the unyielding commitment of Senator Baucus and members of the Senate Finance Committee, we have reached another milestone in our effort to pass health insurance reform," the president said in a statement. "Over the past two weeks, the Committee has engaged in long hours of thoughtful deliberation and vigorous debate. They have considered hundreds of amendments, and incorporated many of the best ideas from both parties. And they have shown a spirit of civility, a seriousness of purpose, and a willingness to compromise that embodies our democratic process at its very best.
“The Finance Committee’s work is the culmination of tireless efforts over the better part of this year by the five committees and many members of Congress involved in health reform -- holding numerous hearings and bi-partisan meetings; reaching out to stakeholders across the spectrum; and striving to find common ground. As a result of this work, we are now closer than ever before to finally passing reform that will offer security to those who have coverage and affordable insurance to those who don’t. We have a long way to go, but I am confident that as we move forward, we will continue to engage with each other as productively as the members of the Finance Committee, and will get reform passed this year,” Obama added.
The Finance Committee put off a final vote until next week so congressional budget officials can certify the $900 billion bill does not add to federal deficits. Then, Senate Democrats and the White House will have to try to meld the bill with one passed earlier by the Senate health committee.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.