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Health care latest: Obama says House made 'the right vote'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the health care vote is personal to millions of Americans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the health care vote is personal to millions of Americans.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Live blog: Constant updates with CNN's latest reporting
  • House passes the Senate health care bill, 219-212
  • Rep. Bart Stupak reaches deal with the White House on abortion funding
  • Republicans characterize legislation as a "government takeover"

Follow the very latest on the health care vote and find out what it means for you, tonight on CNN. Watch the debate online, on TV and your iPhone.

Washington (CNN) -- The House on Sunday passed the Senate's health care reform bill and a package of measures meant to reconcile differences between the Senate bill and the one it passed last year.

Here's the latest on what's happening:

11:48 p.m.: President Obama says that the House's vote on health care "wasn't an easy vote but it was the right vote."

Speaking from the East Room of the White House, the president, who made health care reform a priority for his administration, said the vote wasn't a victory for a political party but for the American people.

Obama said the reform plan won't fix everything wrong with the nation's health care system, "but it moves us decisively in the right direction."

11:30 p.m.: The House has passed the package of fixes meant to reconcile differences between the bill the House passed last year and the Senate bill it passed earlier Sunday night.

Those vote was 220-211.

The reconciliation package now heads to the Senate.

11:20 p.m.: The House is voting on passage of the reconciliation bill. This is the final vote of the day on health care reform.

The reconciliation bill is the package of "fixes" to the Senate health care bill that made it more attractive to balking House Democrats.

11:18 p.m.: The House votes down the Republican motion to recommit the bill.

11:08 p.m.: CNN's Brianna Keilar reports: A Republican lawmaker shouted out "baby killer" as Rep. Bart Stupak explained why he would not support the motion to recommit.

Stupak sponsored an amendment in the House bill that included tougher language on restricting federal funding of abortions.

Stupak decided to support the Senate bill after President Obama said he would sign an executive order that would make sure the health care reform law would be consistent with current restrictions on federal funding for abortions.

10:55 p.m.: Republicans have offered a motion to recommit, which is their last chance to kill the bill.

The Republican motion is to amend the language on abortion in the just-passed Senate bill.

10:48 p.m.: The House passes the Senate health care bill, 219-212.

All 178 Republicans opposed it, along with 34 Democrats.

The House then moved on to consider the reconciliation package.

10:31 p.m.: Lawmakers are voting on the health care legislation. The vote will last for 15 minutes.

10:17 p.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the health care legislation for its ability to "unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power into our economy."

Pelosi said the fact that the bill is on the cusp of passing is due to the leadership of President Obama.

She also cited the legacy of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who wrote in a letter to Obama that health care is the "great unfinished business of our society."

"That is -- until today," she said.

10:07 p.m.: House Minority Leader John Boehner delivers fiery remarks, slamming the contents of the health care bill and the process leading up to the vote.

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Speaking about the way the bill was written, Boehner asked, "Can you say it was done openly, with transparency and accountability? Without backroom deals struck behind closed doors, hidden from the people?

"Hell no you can't!"

10:01 p.m.: CNN's Ed Henry reports: In his remarks after the health care vote, President Obama will be blunt about casting the House's expected passage of his health care legislation as an achievement of historic proportions that shows he's starting to deliver on the dramatic change he promised on the campaign trail, according to Democratic officials familiar with the planned remarks.

"He's going to say we delivered -- that we rose to the challenge," said one of the Democratic officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Obama's speech before it is delivered. "It's about change, and what change looks like."

9:45 p.m.: Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, said that when it comes to health care reform, the only bipartisanship he's seen is in the opposition to it.

"We believe this government must stop spending money that it doesn't have," said Cantor, the House minority whip.

"The choice before us is very clear. The choice is whether we want to become a country that is unrecognizable or one that will fulfill the American dream."

9:40 p.m.: Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd, a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, said that while the health care bill is not perfect, "the other side has brought us no viable alternatives."

"If not this, then what? If not now, then when?" the Florida lawmaker asked.

8:58 p.m.: Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of New York said that "amidst angry and at times even hateful rhetoric, amidst the misinformation and scare tactics, there exists one simple truth, and that truth is that the current system is unsustainable."

Last summer, Bishop suspended his town hall meetings following a particularly unruly event.

8:38 p.m.: Republican Rep. Tom Price, a doctor from Georgia, said health care is a "moral endeavor and should be grounded in principle."

"This is a sad day, yes, because there are so many wonderful and positive and patient-centered solutions that could be enacted. You see, we trust patients and families. They trust government," he said.

7:57 p.m.: In an impassioned speech, Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, urges his colleagues to pass health care reform.

"This may be the most important vote that we cast as members of this body. We have a moral obligation today, tonight to make health care a right and not a privilege," Lewis said.

"On this day, at this moment, in this chamber, answer the call of history, answer the spirit of history and pass health care. Give the American people a victory. Give health care a chance," he said to applause.

Republican Rep. John Linder, also from Georgia, said he feels "rude trying to inject some fact into this Kabuki Theatre but I'm going to try."

"This has never been about health care. This is about government," he said, arguing that the proposed legislation would destroy health care for those who are happy with the coverage they have.

7:54 p.m.: If House Democrats pass the Senate bill Sunday night, as is expected, a senior administration official said "it won't be signed today," CNN's Dan Lothian reports.

Instead, the president will deliver remarks after the vote in the White House East Room.

7:38 p.m.: Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao will vote "no" on the health care bill, CNN's Dana Bash reports.

Cao was the one Republican who voted for the House bill in November.

The Louisiana representative said he will not support the Senate bill because of its abortion language.

Cao does not think the executive order goes far enough, his chief of staff said.

7:26 p.m.: Republican and House members are lined up for what might be their last opportunity for a voice in the debate over health care.

The arguments echo what has been heard in larger debate over health care reform over the last year.

Republicans are criticizing the landmark legislation as a "takeover" of the health care system that would expand federal funding of abortion and saddle future generations of Americans with debt.

Democrats are lauding the legislation as allowing all Americans health care coverage and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage from those who need it most.

6:52 p.m.: Debate will be followed by three votes: a vote on the Senate bill, a vote on the motion to recommit on the reconciliation package (a Republican motion), and a vote on the reconciliation package.

Republicans are expected to throw up parliamentary roadblocks throughout the debate.

6:43 p.m.: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer opens debate.

Republicans and Democrats have one hour each to make their case.

6:28 p.m.: The House votes to move into general debate over the health care legislation. The vote is 224-206.

Debate is slated for two hours.

The fact that the motion to debate passed is an indication that Democrats have enough votes to pass the legislation itself.

6:04 p.m.: House Republicans blast the executive order in a news conference.

Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt said an executive order "is not worth the paper it is printed on."

"It is not the law of the land and it can be rescinded in the blink of an eye," she said.

5:04 p.m.: President Obama will make a statement following the House vote.

4:50 p.m.: Asked whether Democrats have the 216 votes needed to pass health care legislation, House Majority Whip James Clyburn said, "We're feeling good, with room to spare," CNN's Dana Bash reports.

4:39 p.m.: Asked her reaction to the deal over abortion funding, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "We're very pleased that we have more votes for the bill," CNN's Kevin Bohn reports.

4:07 p.m.: Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, announces that he, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House have reached an agreement that protects "the sanctity of life in health care reform."

Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats had said they would oppose the Senate bill because of concerns it would expand federal funding of abortion.

House vote on health reform expected to be extremely close

4:07 p.m.: One hour of debate has begun on the rules for debate and vote on the health care legislation.

3:59 p.m.: President Obama will issue an executive order after a health care bill is passed "that will reaffirm its consistency with longstanding restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion," White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said.

The order does not change the law, but it will provide "additional safeguards to ensure that the status quo is upheld and enforced, and that the health care legislation's restrictions against the public funding of abortions cannot be circumvented."

3:35 p.m.: Republican Rep. David Dreier of California said lawmakers know with "absolute certainty" that the only thing they are guaranteed is what's in the Senate bill, which all House Republicans and a number of Democrats oppose.

Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter interrupted, saying, "No you don't!"

"The best way that they can achieve their ends of removing the things that are objectionable from the Senate bill is to support reconciliation," she said as lawmakers cheered and jeered.

3:28 p.m.: Stupak, D-Michigan, will hold a news conference at 4 p.m., CNN's Deirdre Walsh reports.

Stupak is part of a coalition of Democrats who oppose the Senate bill because they say it would expand federal funding of abortion.

3:02 p.m.: The House defeats a Republican point of order from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

Another Republican point of order from Darrell Issa of California is now being debated.

2:40 p.m.: Ryan called the health care bill a "fiscal Frankenstein."

"It is not too late to get it right. Let's start over. Let's defeat this bill," he said.

2:30 p.m.: Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, son of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, said there are significant parallels between the struggle for civil rights and the fight to make quality, affordable health care accessible to all Americans.

Quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Kennedy said, "Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

1 p.m.: The House convenes.

Lawmakers spend about an hour giving one-minute speeches and taking votes on issues unrelated to health care.

Do Democrats have the votes?: Democratic leaders continue to try to round up the 216 necessary votes to pass the bill in the House.

Rep. John Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said told CNN's "State of the Union" that "We've got the votes."

"This is a historic day and we are happy warriors," Larson said.

But the chief deputy whip in the House was cautious.

"We don't have a hard 216 right now," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, told "Fox News Sunday" just as Larson was speaking to CNN. But, she added, "I firmly believe we will have 216."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Sunday morning, "We are going to get the votes this afternoon."

Latest vote count: According to CNN's latest count, 33 Democrats plan to vote against the legislation. Thirty-eight Democratic "no" votes are needed to kill the bill.

Six House Democrats have told CNN they haven't yet decided how they will vote, and two have not responded to CNN's repeated inquiries.

See how Democrats plan to vote

Can Republicans block the vote?: Democrats control Congress, so they should be able to bring the Senate bill, and a package of changes to it, to a vote. But Republicans plan to impede the process as much as they can.

Without spelling out specifics, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence of Indiana promised to do just that.

"We are going to use every means at our disposal to oppose this government takeover of health care," Pence told "State of the Union." "Because quite frankly, as thousands gather at rallies all across this country and here in the nation's capital yesterday, you know, the American people are sick and tired of runaway federal spending by both parties, of borrowing and bailouts and takeovers. And I believe this is going to be a historic weekend."

Asked what measures Republicans might take, Pence replied, "Stay tuned, it's going to be an interesting day."

Working the phones: Former President Clinton made several phone calls Saturday to lobby wavering Democrats to sign on to the health care reform bill, Democratic sources told CNN.

11th hour appeal: President Obama on Saturday made his last appeal for the reform bill, telling House Democrats on the eve of the historic vote: "Let's get this done."

"If you agree that the system is not working for ordinary families, if you've heard the same stories that I've heard everywhere, all across the country, then help us fix the system," Obama said.

'Deeming' ditched: Democratic leaders on Saturday decided to abandon a controversial legislative mechanism that could have avoided a direct vote on the legislation. They will hold an up-or-down vote on the reform plan that the Senate has already passed.

If the Senate bill passes the House, Obama will sign it into law. If the package of changes is passed, it will be taken up by the Senate.

Protests get ugly: Three black Democratic lawmakers -- including civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis of Georgia -- said demonstrators against the health care bill yelled racist epithets at them Saturday as they walked past. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said a protester spit at him. Capitol police said a demonstrator was arrested in that incident.

In addition, protesters yelled anti-gay comments at Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, an openly gay Democrat.

Leaders of both parties condemned the protesters' actions.

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Obama's Sunday plans: A White House official said the president is "in the West Wing, getting updates, dropping in on staff, and like the rest of America, examining the rubble of his [NCAA basketball] bracket."

The official added that Obama "made a surprise appearance at an 11 a.m. meeting of senior staff," and is "preparing to make and take member phone calls as we move toward the vote."

Legislation revealed: Democratic leaders unveiled the text of the reconciliation act for health care on Thursday. Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (pdf)

Section-by-section analysis (pdf)

The price tag: The compromise health care bill drafted by top Democrats will cost $940 billion over the next 10 years, according to a preliminary analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Read the CBO preliminary estimate (pdf)

The bill cuts the deficit by $138 billion during that period, the CBO report said. It would further reduce the deficit by another $1.2 trillion in the following decade, two House Democratic sources said.

GOP leaders said the new CBO estimates had not changed their opinion of the bill, which they vehemently oppose.

What happens next?: Democrats hope to pass the Senate bill Sunday and the package of changes designed in part to make the overall legislation more acceptable to House Democrats. President Obama can sign the bill into law if it passes.

The Senate would vote to approve the changes to its bill this week by a simple majority vote.

See which parts of the health care plan would kick in quickly

CNN's Dana Bash, Kevin Bohn, Candy Crowley, Evan Glass, John Helton, Ed Henry, Kristi Keck, Brianna Keilar, Dan Lothian, Deirdre Walsh and Robert Yoon contributed to this report.

 
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