From Talking Points Memo, December 8:
After his abortion amendment did not win the day on the Senate floor, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) did not come out swinging. Though he insisted that the failure of his abortion amendment “makes it harder to be supportive” of Senate health care bill, he did not reiterate his pledge to filibuster the bill.
“We’ll just have to see what develops,” Nelson told reporters. “I have no plan B.”…
That allows him substantial wiggle room, if he ultimately decides not to defect from the health care bill, and indeed, after the vote Nelson returned to private negotiations with liberals and other conservative Democrats over the public option.
He’s not a firm no vote just yet.
“Not at this point in time. I want to continue to work on the [public option compromise] to see if that can improve the bill from my perspective.”
Friend Connie emailed:
Contrast that to his earlier unequivocal statements that he would vote against final cloture if the Reid Bill were not amended to fix the abortion problem…
When Nelson announced his decision to vote in favor of cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid bill he said: “I support parts of the bill and oppose others I will work to fix. If that’s not possible, I will oppose the second cloture motion – needing 60 votes – to end debate, and oppose the final bill.” When Nelson announced he would introduce an anti-abortion amendment, he said: “It [the amendment] is Stupak language,” Nelson said. “I’ve said at the end of the day if it doesn’t have Stupak language on abortion in it I won’t vote to move it off the floor.” Before Nelson announced how he would vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid Bill, he responded to a reporter’s question asking if he could support a bill without that [Stupak] specific abortion clause: “I can’t imagine that I would.”
Now is the time for anti-abortion groups and other opponents of ObamaCare to unite in an unrelenting campaign to make political extinction the price of Ben Nelson’s going back on his word to vote “no” on cloture on the Reid Bill if it is not amended to prohibit the use of federal funds and subsidies for abortion.
All groups should begin demanding immediately that Nelson clarify his intentions and not allow him any wiggle room.