Major Health Care Vote Looms on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON - While House Republicans grew in number, Senate Democrats took another step towards passing their massive health care reform bill.

Republicans are running interference, but Democrats are all but guaranteed an early Christmas present.

Early Tuesday morning, senators cast another procedural vote on their health care legislation.

Sixty stood for the bill while 39 held against it. A final vote remains, but some Democrats are claiming victory.

Supporters of the bill are hailing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a legislative hero.

Abortion funding will continue to be the big issue as the debate moves on. CBN News spoke with Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life about this concern. Click play for her comments.

"To put it in biblical terms, Harry Reid has the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon and the endurance of Samson," Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin said.

Still, Republicans are putting up a fight.

"This is a horrible piece of legislation that will raise insurance premiums, raise taxes and limit access to care," Sen. Orrin Hatch said.

The legislation requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face fines, a condition some lawmakers are calling unconstitutional.

"People are saying to me, how can the federal government tell me I have to buy insurance," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson claimed.

Procedurally, Republicans can delay the vote until the evening of Christmas Eve, but final passage of the bill is all but certain.

With winter storms threatening much of the country later this week, Sen. Reid has signaled he'd like to finish Wednesday.

Demonstrating his desire to be home with his family, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris delivered a remake of "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

"Democrats explained as they drove out of sight, better coverage for all, even our friends on the right," he said.

When senators return to the capitol next year, they'll have to merge their bill with the House version which won't be easy.

To contact your representative and senator, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senators' and/or representative's office. Or find your representative's contact information on the links below. Let your voice be heard.

Related Link:

Click here to see a side by side comparison of the health care bills in Congress and the Senate.

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Will Dems Get Their Health Care Christmas Wish?

It's Now Democrat vs. Democrat on Health Care

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.