Past Key Obstacle, Final Health-Care Vote Expected After 9 P.M.

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After securing the support of Representative Bart Stupak and Democratic opponents of abortion rights (after Obama pledged “to ensure that federal funds are not used for abortion services” if the bill passed), the House took its most critical step toward passing the health-care reform legislation, passing a procedural vote which all but assured the bill will pass tonight. The 224–206 House vote indicated the Democrats and President Obama have secured a sufficient number of votes after months of intense partisan debate and last-minute scrambling. The House has now begun the final debate for official passage, with the final vote likely to come after 9 p.m. At which point Nancy Pelosi will finally, presumably, get to make use of this giant gavel.

House Clears Path for Final Health Vote [NYT]