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DURBIN: And I am honored to have stood beside him with so many others to see this great day finally arrive.

This is a time of year of long nights and darkness when history tells us that, from the beginning of time, people would gather and they, with their families and friends, would look for signs of hope and light a light and even light a candle.

This morning, this vote in the United States Senate lit a candle of hope for 50 million Americans who went to bed last night without the protection of health insurance, for millions who wake this morning wondering if they'll ever win that battle with the health insurance company for the coverage that they need for the surgical procedure, for the medication.

It's also a candle of hope for any nation that we are finally tackling an issue which every family, every business knows is central to our progress as a nation. We have succeeded through the efforts of Senator Baucus and Senator Dodd and Senator Schumer and Senator Murray and Senator Reid but also with the help and inspiration and leadership of a president who made this the highest item on his agenda and told us that he would work hard night and day to help us reach this moment. We owe our appreciation to him and the vice president especially for presiding over this historic session this morning.

SCHUMER: Thank you. And a happy holiday, merry Christmas, happy new year to everybody. The bill can be described in a single sentence: At the same time, it cuts cost -- the waste, the fraud, the duplication endemic to our system -- and at the same time, it covers 31 million people.

Who would have thought we could do both in the same bill? Who would have thought we could do it with not a single Republican vote and getting every one of the 60 Democratic votes? Who would have thought that we could finally get a handle on the thing that is driving our budget deficit to great heights, which is health-care costs, and at the same time do so much good by covering so many people?

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