Washington: President Barack Obama will push back the start of his year-end vacation by a day and remain in Washington while the Senate completes work on healthcare legislation, his top domestic priority.
"I will not leave until my friends in the Senate have completed their work," the president told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with community bankers.
"My attitude is if they are making these sacrifices to provide health care to all Americans, the least I can do is be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help" they may need.
The first family was supposed to leave Wednesday for Hawaii, where Obama grew up, and where he likes to spend Christmas with his family every year.
The Senate voted in favour of the package early Tuesday in a party-line split, and is expected to have another preliminary vote Wednesday and a final vote Thursday at 8 am.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs said at the morning briefing that the White House will "make a decision later this evening about when the president will leave" for Hawaii.
"As soon as we know the outcome of that decision, we will let you guys know. But, no decisions have been made at this point," he said.
First Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 11:33