Oct 13, 2009 2:55 PM by Associated Press
Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe broke with her party Tuesday and said she will vote for a Democratic health care bill, handing President Barack Obama a much-sought boost in his quest to expand access to medical coverage to all Americans.
Approval of the legislation by the Senate Finance Committee was a foregone conclusion going into Tuesday's vote, since Democrats outnumber Republicans 13-10 on the panel.
But Snowe's decision gave the vote a significance that transcends partisan divisions. For months, congressional Republicans have been virtually unanimous in denouncing the Democratic bills as an unwarranted expansion of government influence.