WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Democratic leaders in Congress appear to be converging on proposals for a public health insurance option that might win passage in each chamber, the comments of two Democratic senators Sunday suggested that a long fight is likely ahead in the Senate.
Conservative Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska told CNN's John King that he has not committed to lend his vote to aid Democrats in avoiding a filibuster of health care reform legislation.
"I've made no promise," Nelson said Sunday, adding that he can't decide whether he should help stop a filibuster until he sees the substance of the Senate bill being crafted by Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid.
Nelson also said that he does not support the latest proposal that Reid is considering - a national public health insurance option that would allow states to opt out. But Nelson said he might be able to support a public option where states are allowed, instead, to opt in.
"Look, I'm a Jeffersonian Democrat," Nelson told King, "I think states can make decisions on their own about their own citizens and so I certainly would look at that."
Nelson added that he didn't think he "could make any decision about anything until [he'd] seen everything."
Liberal Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio disagreed with Nelson and said a public health insurance option was necessary in order to help deal with the power insurance companies currently wield.
(CNN) - The Senate will consider several versions of a government-run public health insurance option in the chamber's upcoming debate on a health care bill, a Democratic senator predicted Sunday.
"I think what we're going to end up with is having votes on a number of choices," Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri told the ABC program "This Week."
According to McCaskill, the alternatives would include giving states the ability to opt out of a not-for-profit public option, or reversing that dynamic by allowing states the choice of opting in to such a program.
Another alternative would be the so-called "trigger mechanism," McCaskill said. That idea - batted around in Congress for weeks - would mandate a public option in the future if specific thresholds for expanded coverage and lower costs go unmet by a certain time.
The goal is to come up with a plan that can overcome a filibuster in the chamber, said McCaskill, who supports including a public option in the health care bill.
(CNN) - A Republican and a Democratic senator pledged their support Sunday if President Barack Obama asks for further resources to respond to the H1N1 flu outbreak.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the chamber's top Republican, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, told the ABC program "This Week" the government should have whatever resources it needs to deal with the global H1N1 pandemic.
Obama declared a national emergency Friday to enable his government to respond more quickly to the spreading flu virus.
Abdullah Abdullah, who served as foreign minister in Karzai's government until quitting nearly four years ago, said he would congratulate Karzai if he "is elected through a transparent and credible process."
"My trust in becoming a candidate was not to be part of the same government, part of the same deteriorating situation," told CNN's John King in an interview taped for broadcast on Sunday's "State of the Union."
"Mine was for a change in this country. Mine was for bringing hopes for the people of this country, and making the people of Afghanistan true participants in their politics, in the governance, in the developmental process, in the security situation and as a whole."
Abdullah and other charged massive fraud in the August 20 vote. The initial results gave Karzai the win, but a subsequent review by a U.N.-backed panel of election monitors threw out nearly one-third of Karzai's votes because of "clear and convincing evidence of fraud."