Barack Obama

Obama may delay vacation over healthcare

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves an announcement on government efficiency at the White House in Washington December 21, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama may 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 U.S. Senate, the White House said on Tuesday.

“They are going to make a decision later this evening about when the president will leave,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at a press briefing.

Obama had been expected to leave for Hawaii, the state where he grew up, on Wednesday.

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