Other Senate Democrats May Join Nelson to Oppose Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
by Steven Ertelt
December 18, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Harry Reid’s Democratic caucus in the Senate may be unraveling even further than the abortion fight he is having with pro-life Sen. Ben Nelson. Other senators are voicing their concerns about various unrelated provisions of the pro-abortion, government health care bill.
The potential opposition is important because, to get the pro-abortion health care bill approved in the Senate this year, Reid needs commitments by Saturday evening.
"If we are going to get a bill out of the Senate, which will be very close to getting a bill enacted, we have to do it in 2009," Sen. Bob Casey said yesterday, according to Politico. "Some might not think so, but what I would worry about is losing momentum." "We’re down to 48 to 72 hours," he said.
Nelson has been the biggest obstacle because of his opposition to the bill over abortion funding and said he would not give any hint on when he would decide whether to back off his filibuster threat.
"I don’t have a timetable to do that," Nelson told Politico. "We’re still working on language, and a number of issues are under consideration right now that I’ve requested. And we’ll have all that information back and see the [Congressional Budget Office] numbers on the package that was sent over a week ago. Then we’ll look at everything, and I’ll make my decision."
The office of Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said late Thursday that he is still "undecided" about the health care bill.
A Webb spokesman told the Washington Post that the first-term Democrat is "still deliberating about the bail."
"It is not surprising that he is being lobbied by interests on both sides of the aisle. Senator Webb has a reputation for being very deliberative and independent-minded," spokeswoman Jessica Smith said in a statement. "The fact that he has said he is undecided about this bill is not extraordinary."
Webb wrote in an op-ed published in the Winchester Star on Wednesday that "I have yet to decide whether I will support final passage of the bill."
Republicans point out that Webb voted with all 59 Democrats to start debate on the bill but, since then, has voted for some of their amendments to weaken or remove the problematic portions of it.
Webb could actually be one of a handful of Democrats to express hesitation or reservations about the bill.
Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Roland Burris of Illinois are both liberals who have said they may oppose the bill because it does not contain a strong government-run public option that they favor.
However, yesterday, it appeared Burris may have backed off his threats.
"We’ll see what it is, but what the situation is now is the realization that we can’t kill the bill," Burris told Politico. "That’s the realization."
Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is another senator who could become a no vote when the rubber meets the road.
"I certainly think a stronger bill would be better in every respect, better policy … but there are obviously some good things in the bill," he said earlier this month, according to The Hill.
He is waiting on the financial analysis of the bill and Reid’s changes to it before making a final decision.
"I am not making a judgment until I see the CBO numbers and that’s only the beginning," he said.
Also, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who is facing enormous pressure from her home state to vote no, also says she will decide based on the CBO score.
Reid has until Saturday to strike a 60-vote compromise if Democrats hope to meet a Christmas Eve deadline.
Reid still has no legislative text and no cost analysis to release, though reports indicate he may finally release the text of the manager’s amendment on Saturday that he is using to shore up votes.
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