Worldnet DailyPosted: March 21, 2010 10:45 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn Â© 2010 WorldNetDaily
Democrats in the House needed 216 votes to pass the Senate's version of a sweeping health-care package Barack Obama has been pushing with all his presidential might.
They tallied 219.
Democrats hailed the vote as a landmark victory.
"Today is the day that is going to rank with the day we passed the civil rights bill in 1964," said Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. "Today we're doing something that ranks with what we did with Social Security or Medicare. This is a day of which we can all be proud."
"This is an American proposal that honors the traditions of our country," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., summing up the initiative in one word: "opportunity."
"I know this wasn't an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the right vote," added President Obama. "This isn't radical reform. But it is major reform. This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health-care system. But it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like."
Republicans in Congress, however, who voted in a solid block to oppose the measure that many argue grants the federal government far too much power at far too much of a cost, blasted the bill during the debate as the "mother of all unfunded mandates."
"The American people know you can't reduce health-care costs by spending $1 trillion or raising taxes by more than one-half trillion dollars. The American people know that you cannot cut Medicare by over one-half trillion dollars without hurting seniors," said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. "And, the American people know that you can't create an entirely new government entitlement program without exploding spending and the deficit."
Promoters of the bill have long touted the millions who will be added to health-care rolls and claimed that long-term, the trillion-dollar bill will eventually lead to deficit reduction.
Critics say that the bill's supporters have used accounting tricks to keep hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses out of the fine print. They cite several strikes against the reform attempt, from the cost of yet another taxpayer-funded entitlement to the general principle that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution â€“ which sets limits on the federal government's powers â€“ is there an authorization to force people to buy the health-insurance program a federal bureaucrat picks out.