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UPDATE 1-Obama will delay vacation over US healthcare

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WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he would delay his year-end Hawaiian vacation to remain in Washington as a bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system makes its way through the Senate.

“I will not leave until my friends in the Senate have completed their work,” he said after a meeting with community bankers at the White House.

Obama had been expected to leave for Hawaii, the state where he was born and spent much of his childhood, on Wednesday.

“My attitude is, if they are making these sacrifices to provide healthcare to all Americans, the least I can do is be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help,” he said.

Obama’s fellow Democrats in the Senate cleared the second of three 60-vote hurdles early on Tuesday to move the landmark legislation -- Obama’s top domestic policy priority -- one step closer to passage by Christmas.

Republicans, who have just 40 seats in the Senate, have vowed to use every tactic they can to delay passage of the measure, which has consumed Congress for months and inspired intense political brawling. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Doina Chiacu)

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