Healthcare reform took a giant step closer to passage Tuesday, as the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the legislation on a 14-9 vote.
Yes, the draft is more conservative than the legislation passed by four other committees in the House and Senate. No, there's no public option in the Finance version. Yes, there's still quite a lot of work to do. But every committee with jurisdiction over the issue has now voted on -- and passed -- reform legislation, something no previous reform proposal ever achieved.
Maine Republican Olympia Snowe was the only Republican to vote for the bill. All 13 Democrats on the committee supported it, though several progressives said it should -- and would -- be improved once it hits the Senate floor.
Democrats sounded energized and ready to move forward. "Let's put an end to the status quo," Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat, said just before the vote.