Updated at 11:38 p.m.
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By a razor thin margin of 219-212, the House of Representatives tonight passed far-reaching legislation that will lead to near-universal health care coverage in the United States -- a goal that has eluded Presidents and Congresses for a century.
The vote on the Senate bill concluded at 10:48 p.m., almost 10 hours after Democrats gavelled the chamber into session, confident the vote would be there. Within an hour, the House also passed the "fix" to the Senate bill, on a 220-211 vote. The separate, smaller reconciliation package will go to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to muster the 51 votes needed to pass it.
With two minutes left to vote on the Senate bill, the 216th vote was cast, leading to scattered applause in the visitors' viewing gallery gallery, and loud chants on the Democratic side of the aisle of Obama's campaign mantra "yes we can." As the 15 minutes allotted for the vote wound down, Democratic representatives counted down the clock: "3, 2, 1 ..." The time for voting didn't close immediately after the 15 minutes elapsed.