Senate panel wraps up health reform work

Oct. 2, 2009 at 8:29 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Finance Committee worked until early Friday to complete work on its healthcare bill, preparing it for a committee vote next week.

The Finance Committee finished its work just after 2 a.m. Friday on the proposal expected to be the basis of the Senate's health reform legislation when floor debate begins, The Washington Post reported.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., delayed a vote until next week, though he said he has enough support to pass it out of committee.

"We can all be very proud of what we have achieved here," Baucus said.

President Barack Obama praised the committee and Baucus's leadership during the bill's mark-up.

"Over the past two weeks, the committee has engaged in long hours of thoughtful deliberation and vigorous debate," Obama said in a statement. "They have considered hundreds of amendments, and incorporated many of the best ideas from both parties. And they have shown a spirit of civility, a seriousness of purpose, and a willingness to compromise that embodies our democratic process at its very best."

Committee Republicans said the measure was rife with revenue provisions that would violate Obama's campaign pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans.

"There are going to be a lot of people whose taxes are increased by this legislation," said Sen. Michael D. Crapo, R-Idaho.

Democrats said wide support for reform would drive the effort to passage.

"Every Democrat, from the most liberal to the most conservative, realizes that it serves America's interest and our own interest to pass a bill," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

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