Senator Confirms Manager’s Amendment Used to Persuade Nelson on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 16, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Confirms Manager’s Amendment Used to Persuade Nelson on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 16
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The vote on the Senate pro-abortion health care bill is coming down to the wire and it is appearing likely that pro-life Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson will be the deciding vote on whether to stop the filibuster against the bill. As pro-life advocates have worried, a manager’s amendment may be used to persuade him.

At the end of the debate on the government-run bill, scheduled for next week before Christmas, senators will vote on cloture (to end the filibuster) and the bill itself (if the filibuster is defeated).

Before they do that, they will vote on a manager’s amendment — a package of amendments sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid designed to keep Democrats in line for the bill.

The fear has been that the manager’s amendment will be used to get Nelson to support the bill and the party on the filibuster vote.

In an interview with National Review Online today, pro-abortion Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin confirmed this fear.

“I believe that we can find some common language on abortion,” says Cardin. “I know that both sides are meeting and talking. What we want is language that’s neutral, and I think the underlying bill has that. What we’re doing now is working to clarify it.”

Cardin told NRO to watch for the manager’s amendment, which could include language that would satisfy Nelson but eventually be withdrawn in the conference committee to leave the bill funding abortions.

"There won’t be any major surprises in it, but we’ll deal with the public insurance issue and modifying the abortion language," Cardin said. "I don’t think that it will be controversial. As long as the Congressional Budget Office gives us the green light, I think we’ll be good to go.”

Reid is reportedly working on the language with Sen. Bob Casey, the Senate’s only other self-proclaimed pro-life Democrat — although Casey faces criticism of his own for appearing to support the bill even with abortion funding in place.

The amendment could also contani phony language that appears to ban abortion funding but doesn’t.

Yesterday, prior to a meeting with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats, Nelson confirmed he does not support the bill as written — saying he is "not on the bill" and warning them to not count him as a solid yes vote.

"I’m not blockheaded and I’m not stubborn," Nelson said in an interview on Monday with the Associated Press. "I’ve carved out what I can live with and what I can’t live with."

"I can’t get there [to vote for the bill without the abortion funding ban]," he said.

"I still have the unique issue of abortion," Nelson said on Sunday’s Face the Nation. "I’ve said I can’t support the bill with the abortion language that’s there."

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