In a warning sign for the White House, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska tells ABC News that he'll vote to block any health care bill that looks like the bill passed by the House.
Why is he thumbing his nose at Harry Reid, Pelosi, and the millions that are uninsured?
"Well, first of all, it has more than a robust public option, it's got a totally government-run plan, the costs are extraordinary associated with it, it increases taxes in a way that will not pass in the Senate and I could go on and on and on," Nelson said in an interview that is part of ABC News' Subway Series with Jonathan Karl.
"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."
The $1.1 trillion price tag on the House bill, Nelson said, is "absolutely" too high.
The $1.1 trillion quote is, actually, on the low side, but that is besides the point. This is just another trillion plus government boodoogle that will end up hurting more than it will help.
Consider the stimulus plan, Obama said that we must pass it, or we will reach 10% unemployment without it. He used fear to rush it through. Well, we passed it, and were still at 10% plus
There is one thing about the House bill, however, that Nelson does like: the strict ban on any abortion coverage by insurance plans bought with government subsidies. Unless the Senate bill includes a similar provision, Nelson said, he'll vote against it.
"Federal taxpayer money ought not to be used to fund abortions," Nelson said. "So whether it is subsidies on premiums or whether it is tax credits or whatever it is...it should not be used to fund abortions."
That's another dagger in the bill and NOW's heart.
In response to Bill Clinton's comments earlier, he said something that sounds a bit familiar:
"What I heard him say is that you don't have to let the desire for perfection get in the way of the good," Nelson said. "And that makes a great deal of sense. But I would add the caveat that we have to be sure it is not a bad bill, that it doesn't add to the deficit, that it doesn't increase taxes, and that does, in fact, control the growth in costs."
I think he read my post right before the interview. So, I'm taking all the credit for his Damascus moment.
With the Senate needing 60 votes to pass anything and all 40 Republicans against it at this time, Reid needs all 60 Democrats to pass it. He cannot afford one defection, but he has at least 3 (Lieberman, Landrieu, too) so far and at least three more (McCaskill, Lincoln, Bayh) that could commit to a no vote. This isn't good for Sen. Reid.