Noam N. Levey


Senate votes to begin health-care debate

WASHINGTON- Without a vote to spare, Democrats pushed their health-care overhaul legislation over its first obstacle on the Senate floor Saturday, as the chamber voted to begin formal debate of a sweeping measure to guarantee medical coverage for all Americans. The 60-39 procedural vote, backed by all 58 Democrats and two independents, with Ohio Republican George Voinovich not voting, overcame a Republican-led filibuster designed to block consideration of the bill and kept up momentum behind President Barack Obama’s top legislative priority.