Senators should vote for the healthcare reform bill before them, their former colleague, Vice President Joe Biden, said Sunday.
Biden, who served as a Democratic senator from Delaware for 36 years, drew on those years of experience to push lawmakers to finish work on the health bill.
"If I were still a United States senator, I would not only vote yes on the current health care reform bill, I would do so with the sure knowledge that I was casting one of the most historic votes of my 36 years in the Senate," Biden wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday.
"And while it does not contain every measure President Obama and I wanted, I would vote yes for this bill certain that it includes the fundamental, essential change that opponents of reform have resisted for generations," the vice president added.
The piece adds momentum to Democrats' work this year to finish work on their health bill, a process which was aided after leaders released their final bill and secured a 60th vote for the legislation in Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
The ability of the Senate to finish their work by its stated Christmas Eve deadline depends on the timing of several votes starting early on Monday morning. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture motions on Saturday, setting up a vote on final passage for Christmas Eve.
Biden primarily addressed liberals in his New York Times piece, warning there would be no "second chance" if the health bill were to fail.
"I share the frustration of other progressives that the Senate bill does not include a public option," Biden wrote. "But I’ve been around a long time, and I know that in Washington big changes never emerge in perfect form."
"If the bill passes the Senate this week, there will be more chances to make changes to it before it becomes law," he added. "But if the bill dies this week, there is no second chance to vote yes."