Senate’s First Health Care Vote Saturday, Pro-Life Democrat Holds Abortion Key

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate’s First Health Care Vote Saturday, Pro-Life Democrat Holds Abortion Key

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 19
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson is the most consistent pro-life Democrat in the U.S. Senate and he may hold the key to the outcome of the pro-abortion health care bill. The Senate is expected to cast its first vote Saturday and Nelson indicated today he may join Republicans in filibustering.

The Senate will vote Saturday night on a Motion to Proceed, a vote that would allow the Senate to begin debating the bill.

But, because of the massive abortion funding and other problems with the bill, all 40 Republican lawmakers are expected to vote to sustain the filibuster. That means just one vote is needed to prevent the Senate from debating the bill.

Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, told Fox News afternoon that if the current pro-abortion language is not changed he will support the filibuster to prevent the bill from getting a final vote, but whether he will support a filibuster on the Motion to Proceed is another question.

In its current form, Nelson opposes the bill because of its abortion funding.

"We have looked at the language," Nelson told The Hill. "That language is not language that I would prefer."

"I think you need to have it eminently clear that no dollars that are federal tax dollars, directly or indirectly, are used to pay for abortions and it needs to be totally clear. [It’s] not clear enough, I don’t think," Nelson said.

"We’re trying to look through all of it and then we’ll go back and look at what might be possible. We talked to some others, as well. I’m not the only person who has an interest in this language," he said.

Nelson, who also opposes the creation of a government-run public option and eliminating that could eliminate some of the abortion funding.

"If there’s no public option, perhaps some of the problem goes away," Nelson said. But, added, “there are a lot of other things that could keep me from supporting it in the end as well.”

Nelson joins Sen. Joe Lieberman as the second member of the Democratic caucus to threaten to filibuster the bill if it doesn’t have drastic changes.

Reid, today, according to The Hill showed no indication of removing the abortion payments.

"This is a healthcare bill, not an abortion bill," he said.

Nelson was challenged earlier in the day by his Republican colleague from Nebraska to oppose the motion to proceed. He responded by saying pro-life Republicans should come up with an amendment to remove the abortion funding, which Senator Orrin Hatch has already said he would support.

"We’re trying to look through all of it and then we’ll go back and look at what might be possible. We talked to some others, as well. I’m not the only person who has an interest in this language," he said.

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