A moderate Democrat whose vote could be crucial said Thursday an attempted Senate compromise on abortion is unsatisfactory, raising doubts about whether the chamber can pass President Barack Obama's health care overhaul by Christmas.(Gee, Associated Press, thanks for that perfectly neutral characterization of the "Republican stalling tactics.")
"As it is, without modifications, the language concerning abortion is not sufficient," Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a key holdout on the health care bill, said in a statement after first making his concerns known to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. . . .
[I]n a radio interview earlier in the day with KLIN in Lincoln, Nebraska, Nelson also said that abortion wasn't his only concern and he didn't see how the Christmas deadline was achievable.
The development came with Senate leaders working round the clock trying to finalize their 10-year, nearly $1 trillion bill in time for a final vote on Christmas Eve. Nelson is emerging as a major obstacle -- perhaps the only remaining one -- since Democrats need his vote to have the 60 necessary to overcome Republican stalling tactics.
Here's the situation: Nelson can vote "yes" on the motion to proceed to a vote (which requires a 60-vote supermajority). and then vote "no" on final passage, where only 51 "yes" votes are needed. Because of the overwhelming Democratic majority in the Senate, there is no question on the final passage if it gets that far; therefore, the only way Nelson (or any other Democrat) affects the outcome is if he votes "no" on the motion to proceed.
So unless and until Nelson says he'll join the filibuster, his statement of opposition is meaningless. If you are a Nebraska resident opposed to ObamaCare, you need to contact Nelson and try to get a clarification:
OmahaAnd if you are a Nebraska Tea Party activist, you need to go in person to Sen. Nelson's office nearest you. No need to get angry or make a scene. Just make sure the Senator's staff knows that you understand the legislative process, and that you won't count the Senator as having voted against the legislation unless he joins the filibuster and votes "no" on the procedural question.
7602 Pacific St.
Omaha, NE 68114
Tel: (402) 391-3411
Fax: (402) 391-4725
440 North 8th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508
Tel: (402) 441-4600
Fax: (402) 476-8753
720 Hart Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (308) 631-7614
Tel: (308) 293-5818
South Sioux City
Tel: (402) 209-3595