WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sixty. It's the magic number of votes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to move his health care reform bill to the Senate floor and tamp down filibuster threats by Republicans.
And the 60th vote could well be Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska.
Nelson and other Democrats have spoken out against the costs of plans being discussed, and most recently the $1.1 trillion House bill, which passed last weekend.
Reid doesn't expect Republican support for the bill, so he'll need all of the 58 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them.
Nelson, 68, recently said he would decide how to vote on whether to send the bill to the Senate floor once he sees the final version.
"I'm not going to make any kind of commitment until I see the bill," Nelson said, adding that he has not given Reid any assurance or "secret" acknowledgment of support.
"I can't decide about the procedural vote until I see the underlying bill," he told CNN.
Nelson told ABC News on Tuesday that faced with a decision on whether to "move a bill that is bad, I won't vote to move it."
Sen Nelson, you will be the most hated man in America if you don't vote for the senate health care bill.
Who will hate you?
Mostly women in America who can barely or not support their kids, and who have no health care insurance coverage of any kind.
And older women like me who have already been there.
Vote for it. The problems down the line can be remedied.
Whether or not you approve of the bill is one thing but for Senators to be so callus when they have insurance I find deplorable. The republicans have fought this tooth and toenail; I guess the good Senators that we place in office are not working for the people; just their own political gain.
raise deficit, cheat the people, give health care that raises taxes, sell our future. You think people will keep silent and will not react by voting against these clowns. The core liberal is only 20% or so, and in most of the country even less. Taxes (even hidden as health plans), not caring about jobs, not understanding of the way the economy can be given a push, not deciding on military issue, cowardly behavior of hiding behind the "attorney general decisions", Chicago style politics goes national, and all these issues that people in the administration ignore will be punished at election time when "we the people" react to this "miserable change" we did not voted for!
The fact that this guy is even registered as a Democrat shows how far to the regressive, corporate right the party has descended since the mid-80's. The Democratic Senatorial health care plan has been crafted by people like Harry Reid, Max Baucus, and Chuck Schumer... This is not a "liberal" bill or anything near a left-leaning plan, it's a license to steal granted to big insurance companies. And yet it's still some how too far to the left for Nelson, Lieberman and the whole of the Republican caucus?? Gimme a break!
The truth is, about 50% of Americans are open to a full-fledged, single-payer national health care system, but the right-wing Democrats have no interest in actually interrupting the profit flow of their health insurance contributors. The "public option" might be an interesting compromise if it were truly an option for all, a legitimate Medicare buy-in plan, regardless of income level; however, the term is being used as a sop to the Democratic base even though Droopy Dog Harry Reid has no intention of making the public option in his plan worthwhile. It will essentially be a minor expansion of Medicaid: nice for the poorest Americans, but won't make an ounce of difference to working class/middle class people forced into the for-profit insurance marketplace (at ridiculously inflationary rates).
We need basically all of the Republicans OUT of the Senate in 2010, as well as worthless DINOs like Nelson, Baucus, Reid, Kerry, Durbin, and Schumer (the distinguished Senator from Wall St.). I doubt it will happen, but the fact is, neither major party is actually interested in providing a sustainable economic model for the American people, only for their top corporate donors; the sooner the Democratic base sees this is just as true of Obama as it was of Bush, the better!
As it should be.