One of the most important senators behind the health-care bill that passed Thursday was unable to cast his vote, but his presence loomed large over the event. "This is for my friend Ted Kennedy," 92-year-old Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) called out as he cast his "aye" vote for the legislation. The Washington Post's Dana Millbank notes that a number of lawmakers paid tribute Thursday to Kennedy, who for decades had pushed for universal health care. "[This] vote brings us one step closer to making Ted Kennedy's dream a reality," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said. President Obama began a round of thank-you calls after the bill passed by reaching out to Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late senator who died of brain cancer in August at age 77.