Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ben Nelson: Count Me Out

Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson is holding out against the Senate health care bill because it funds abortions.

Nelson has pledged to filibuster the bill if his demand to remove the massive abortion funding, which could lead to tax-funding of hundreds of thousands of abortions, is not removed from the bill.

He sponsored an amendment to do that, but the Senate defeated it.

In recent comments, Nelson remains firm on wanting the abortion funding removed and his commitment to filibuster if that doesn't happen.

"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."

Nelson said some of his Senate colleagues are working on a compromise, but he didn't think there was a way to satisfy both his and pro-life concerns as well as finding language that abortion advocates would accept.

"That's a tall order for people," Nelson noted, quite rightly. "And I'm not prescribing ahead what they may be able to do."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could pacify Nelson by including his amendment to get to 60 votes and then remove it during conference committee.

However, removing the abortion funding ban would potentially see the bill die in the House as pro-life Democrats, led by Bart Stupak, pledged to oppose the bill without his amendment in place.

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