POSTED: Sunday, December 20, 2009 - 4:35pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 3:06am
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite a new December snowfall record in Washington D.C., senators did go to work this weekend, and Sunday Senate democrats say they did what they had to do to get a firm 60 votes and move the health care bill forward.
So where do we go from here?
On Capitol Hill Saturday, a day for suits and boots.
After hours of debate the last democratic holdout, Nebraska's Ben Nelson, is now on board.
Making a rare appearance, President Obama backed the deal, along with a host of last minute changes to the bill.
"After nearly a century long struggle, we're on the cusp of making healthcare reform a reality," the President exclaimed.
But it was a hard fought victory. Now with 60 votes, democrats think they can meet their deadline.
Among the changes, the revised bill drops a government-run public option, leaves out a Medicare buy in for those 55 to 64, raises penalties on those who do not buy health insurance, and replaces a tax on cosmetic surgery with a new 10 percent tax on indoor tanning.
The plan would result in 31 million more Americans being covered.
871 billion dollars over 10 years, paid for with new taxes and cuts to the growth of Medicare.
Outraged that the full bill is only now being revealed, republicans are united in opposition.
If the Senate passes a reform measure by Christmas, it then would go to a conference committee of senators and members of the House of Representatives, who already approved its own more liberal bill in November.
The conference committee would have to meld the senate and house measures into one bill that would then require passage again in both houses of Congress before it could be sent to President Obama.