fter a dramatic month of sometimes round-the-clock negotiating and deal-making, Senate Democrats came together Saturday behind sweeping healthcare legislation, providing a powerful boost for President Obama’s top domestic policy goal.
The breakthrough came after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his lieutenants engineered a delicately crafted compromise to prevent federal funding of abortions, the same issue that nearly stopped the House from passing its healthcare bill six weeks ago.
With the deal, Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a strong opponent of abortion, became the 60th and crucial last member of the Democratic caucus to line up behind the healthcare legislation.
That paved the way for Reid to introduce a final package of changes to his 2,074-page bill and file the necessary procedural motions that should allow Democrats to quash an expected series of Republican filibuster attempts over the next several days. The Senate now remains on track to pass its version of the bill by Christmas.