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Calling the health care reform legislation passed by the Senate Christmas Eve morning, "the the most important piece of social legislation" in decades, President Obama lauded the party line vote to advance his goal of reforming the U.S. health care system.
Speaking in the State Dining Room with Vice President Biden at his side, the President told the television cameras that today's vote makes "reform a reality in this country."
The Senate voted 60-39 to pass the massive overhaul. Every Democrat voted in support of it. Republican Senator Bunning of Kentucky was the lone absent legislator having already left Washington to celebrate the holidays back home with his family.
Mr. Obama acknowledged that the process is far from over yet though, and vowed to work with members of both chambers of Congress to reach a final agreement which he could sign in the New Year.
"We can't doom another generation of Americans to soaring costs and eroding coverage and exploding deficits. Instead we need to do what we were sent here to do and improve the lives of the people we serve," the President said. "For the sake of our citizens, our economy, and our future, let’s make 2010 the year we finally reform health care in the United States of America."