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Thursday, December 24, 2009; 9:02 AM

SPEAKERS: SEN. HARRY REID (D-NEV.), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER; SEN. RICHARD J. DURBIN (D-ILL.), SENATE MAJORITY WHIP; SEN. CHARLES E. SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), VICE CHAIR, SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE SEN. PATTY MURRAY, (D-WASH.), SECRETARY OF THE CONFERENCE, SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MONT.), SEN. CHRISTOPHER J. DODD (D-CONN.)

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[*] REID: I spent a very restless night last night trying to figure out how I could show some bipartisanship. And I think I was able to accomplish that for a few minutes today.

(LAUGHTER)

Never before has the Senate found the resolve to make health insurance more affordable and health insurance companies more accountable until today. This is a victory for the American people. Those fortunate enough to have health insurance will be able to keep theirs, and those who do not will be able to have health insurance.

This is a victory because we've affirmed that the ability to live a healthy life in our great country is a right and not merely a privilege for the select few. This morning's vote brings us one step closer to making Ted Kennedy's dream a reality; the dream of Americans also are part of that dream of Ted Kennedy's, and that's also become a reality.

Every step of this long process has been an enormous undertaking. I want to thank Chairmans Baucus, Dodd, and Harkin. I want to thank very much my leadership team -- Durbin, Schumer, Murray. They've Ben remarkably supportive, and I will always be indebted to them.


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