WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama will head to Hawaii with his family on Christmas Eve, the White House said, after lawmakers moved up a key vote on health care reform legislation.
"The First Family will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii on Thursday morning," the White House said in a statement on the president's schedule.
Earlier, the president had said he would delay his traditional Christmas trip to Hawaii if it was necessary to help shepherd health care legislation through the Senate.
"I will not leave until my friends in the Senate have completed their work," Obama told reporters about the final vote.
"My attitude is that if they're making these sacrifices to provide health care to all Americans, then the least I can do is to be around and provide them any encouragement and last-minute help where necessary."
But the Senate said Tuesday afternoon that it would hold the key vote early on Christmas Eve morning.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who had the 60 votes needed to pass the most sweeping overhaul of its kind in four decades, announced that the vote would come Thursday at 8 am (1300 GMT).
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961, where he lived until he was 18, except for a stint in Indonesia from the age of six to 10.