For one, Nebraska’s Senior Senator, E. Ben Nelson said that the abortion language is not up to snuff:
“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.”
So, does that mean that Nelson would not vote for cloture — i.e. not let it proceed for debate or an up or down vote?
Remember when Nelson said:
“Faced with a decision about whether or not to move a bill that is bad, I won’t vote to move it,” he added. “For sure.”
Of course, then Nelson seemed to blink after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s threat to take the vote to reconciliation — where it only needs 51 votes, instead of the filibuster breaking 60. (Though many have said that there aren’t a majority of Dems that are willing to go this route anyway…)
So where does Nelson officially stand now — seeing as the Dems need his vote to get past a likely GOP filibuster?
But… Nebraska’s Junior Senator, Mike Johanns is trying to bend Nelson his way, pretty much calling him out:
“We don’t need 40 Democrats to stand up for what’s right. We need just one. if just one pro-life Democrat would say i will not vote to move this bill until it’s fixed, until it’s truly pro-life, that would happen. So those who say they are pro-life but refuse to take that stand, I worry are not standing up for life.”
In case there was any confusion:
Johanns issued a challenge that surely had his senior colleague from his home state, Dem Sen Ben Nelson, in mind, saying that merely voting to proceed just to try to change the bill was unacceptable.
And Nelson’s response? Seems to be throwing right back to MJ. Though he still seems to think amendments after a cloture vote are the way to go, saying:
Republicans who oppose abortion rights also have an obligation to offer solutions, not just criticisms, of the relevant language in Reid’s healthcare bill, Nelson said.
“The folks on the other side of the aisle who seem to have an interest in the language, you know, maybe they ought to be coming forward with some amendment, as well,” Nelson said.
Is there any love lost between these two former Governors?
But there sure are a lot of thumbs waving around trying to stick the other guy’s eye.
Here’s MJ on the floor (a minute and a half long vid):
And we thought about asking Senator Nelson ourselves what he will do about the cloture vote.
But well, it doesn’t look like Nelson is talking…to OUR type anyway…