Obama hails healthcare vote

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The Independent US

President Obama hailed a US Senate vote that moved a bill on his healthcare reform closer to passing yesterday, and congratulated lawmakers on defying special interests.

"The United States Senate knocked down a filibuster aimed at blocking a final vote on healthcare reform and scored a big victory for the American people," Obama said after a dead-of-night ballot.

The vote by Democratic senators defeated delaying tactics by their Republican Party opponents as they sought to move the bill to a final vote by Christmas Eve.

"By standing up to the special interests - who've prevented reform for decades, and who are furiously lobbying against it now - the Senate has moved us closer to reform that makes a tremendous difference," Obama said.

Once passed, the Senate version of the bill must be reconciled with the House of Representatives' own bill on healthcare reform. Lawmakers then vote again on the amalgamated legislation, which, if it is passed, would be sent to Obama to sign into law.