5 Mar 2010

Obama wants health vote soon

2:00 pm on 5 March 2010

President Barack Obama has urged Congress to vote by simple majority on healthcare reform.

He said on Thursday that Congress should "finish its work" and vote on the legislation in the next few weeks - before he leaves for Australia on 18 March.

The BBC reports the legislation is currently stalled in Congress as the Senate Democrats no longer have a majority of 60 seats to defeat blocking tactics by Republicans.

Both chambers need to pass a unified version of the legislation for the president to sign it into law.

Last week, a televised summit hosted in Washington failed to break the deadlock between parties.

Mr Obama said he opposed Republican calls to reject comprehensive bills passed by the House of Representatives and Senate last year and begin again with a more step-by-step approach.

He wants Congress to back the latest version of his $US950 billion plan.