Narrow Margin

Health-Care Reform Passes in House

After an in-person push by President Obama and his fellow Democratic leaders kicked off an intense, daylong debate, the trillion-dollar health-care legislation was passed by House Democrats with a final vote of 220-215 late Saturday night. Thirty-nine Democrats voted against the health-care bill, along with every Republican except Joseph Cao of Louisiana. Meanwhile, the controversial abortion compromise passed with a vote of 240-194. The amendment to bar federal funding for most abortions was put in front of the House after Speaker Nancy Pelosi helped negotiate with two dozen anti-abortion Democrats over the bill. As expected, the Republican alternative health-care plan failed earlier in the night on a vote of 176-258, and Timothy Johnson of Illinois was the only GOP lawmaker to cross party lines. The historic vote ended with a triumphant Pelosi proclaiming "That was easy" as she left the floor, and after her tooth-and-nail fight for the bill, many are hailing health-care reform as more of a victory for the Speaker than for President Obama. "I think this is probably the biggest win she'll have in all the years she serves," said Rep. John Murtha.