November 20th, 2009
12:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Nelson to support motion to proceed

Washington (CNN ) - Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson announced Friday that he would be supporting the motion to proceed that would allow the Senate to begin debate on the Democrats' health care reform legislation.

"Throughout my Senate career I have consistently rejected efforts to obstruct," he said in a statement. "That's what the vote on the motion to proceed is all about. It is not for or against the new Senate health care bill released Wednesday. It is only to begin debate and an opportunity to make improvements. If you don't like a bill why block your own opportunity to amend it?"

The Nebraska Democrat sounded a positive note Thursday after emerging from a meeting with Reid and other moderate Democratic holdouts in the Senate Majority Leader's office, although he told CNN then he was withholding his final decision on the motion to proceed until he had a chance to "study (the bill) or at least review it to begin with."

He said there had been concerns about the length of time the bill would be made public before the final vote, and whether it would be read on the floor - but that it appeared Reid had largely satisfied his concerns on those issues.

Nelson also said the meeting did not include discussion of any of the specifics regarding abortion language, the antitrust exemption for the insurance industry, and other issues of concern to him.

–CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report

Filed under: Ben Nelson • Health care
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. barbara

    if ANYONE in this country goes hungry its because they choose to do so or they have parents who choose to not feed them. As long as there are food pantries, food shelters, food stamps, friends, neighbors and kind strangers, NO ONE will go hungry.

    November 20, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Only, "it-is-all-about-me-Joe-LIEberman," and the RUSH-BECK-PAINlin-Publicans choose to short change democracy. They must all be totalitarians!

    November 20, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Kirkland WA

    We are not trying to solve wold hunger, just health reform. Every 3.6 seconds someone in the WORLD dies of hunger, but hunger is not the leading cause of death in America. 9 of the top 10 leading causes of death is health related and lack of health care is a huge contributing factor. So lets not get it twisted, we have a problem than needs to be solved. Lets deal with the speck in our eye before we start trying to solve world hunger!

    November 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    L for Legend@ the liberal name calling and demonization is getting real old and kinda shows that you dope addictted products of the NEA controlled education system are incapable of carrying on a discussion about issues. Reid gave Mary Landrieu a $100 million for her state to get her vote, how much did Nelson get? I ask again, if what the president said is true, why do we have to pay 10 years worth of additional taxes to pay for 6 years of this program? I'm sure even an undereducated, under the influence liberal can figure out this does not make sense.

    November 20, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. WIlly Brown

    Ramming socialism up America's rear end one democrat at a time.

    November 20, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. HJA

    I really get a laugh out all the hard core righties. They scream about debt but don't say a word about the fact 80% of our debt is from the republiNAZIS when they had power. Even the economy taking a dive can trace its roots back to Regan. Keep spewing righties. I like someone that can make a fool out of themselves.

    November 20, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Chanel

    The majority of Americans are in favor of a public option and the vast majority are in favor of health care reform in general. I just hope now that the debates have started, these Senators will represent the the will of the people they represent.

    November 20, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. RTB

    Why would any public servant not want to provide a public option? The anti- trust exemption of the insurance industry is outrageous.

    November 20, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Mercedes

    Why do some of you still try to scare other with the idea that it will be free. Read it before you speak!!

    November 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Marshall

    Speaking as a Nebraskan, Ben better start looking for a new job!

    November 20, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Reformed Republican

    Where's all those tough guy rethugs when it comes time to have a meaningful debate in support of the GOP positions on HCR and the PO?

    What are these guys afraid of?

    McCain, McConnell and the rest of the GOPers appear to be wimping out from a good debate – They prefer voting NO! to a good fight for their so-called "conservative values".

    To bad it will take dems to vote for a debate so Americans can get a chance to hear the rethug side of things – If they have anything that is. What a bunch of whimps these conservatives are turning out to be...

    November 20, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. db

    Debate should proceed on this bill, but if liberal Dems think they can push a left-wing agenda, e.g. taxpayer funded abortion, past Nelson, Lieberman, et al they'd better think again.

    November 20, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. diridi

    good luck...nation needs this direly...ok

    November 20, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Ron L

    This is GREAT NEWS!!! This country needs to once and for all make it easier for a large portion (between 90 to 100%) to get regular health care. While many people are being told that this is TOO expensive..I ask EVERYONE of you that reads this...if we were talkng about YOUR life or a FAMILY MEMBERS life..HOW MUCH WOULD BE TOO MUCH!! IF the final bill does 3 things it WILL save money in the long run. The three things are.1) Eliminate the antitrust exclusion the insurance companies currently have. 2) Have a REAL public option in which at least 25% of the public has an opportunity to join it 3) Make sure no businesses with less than 6 employees or that gross under $350,000 pay a penny more taxes due to this new program.
    The complaint about people being force to join the program is PURE HOGWASH. No one knows when they are going to need medical service..BUT EVENTUALLY they will. It is only fair that everyone has to pay some minimum amount, because they sure won't have the money at the last minute!!! And if they haven't contributed ALL of the rest of us have to pick up the tab!! Frankly a National Health Cre program this is LONG OVERDUE!!

    November 20, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Pragmatic

    Debate and discussion is good: what democracy should be based on ... and the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. Wonder how many republicans have already made up their minds ... and did so the night President Obama was elected last year.

    The same fearful rhetoric was present as women got the vote, when SS and later Medicare were enacted... this too, will pass.

    November 20, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Why do Republican'ts hate America so much?

    "Leave me to fend for myself on health care! If I can't afford it, or if I can, then it is up to me, not some lame duck who will be out of office soon anyhow."

    Well, bully for you. Unfortunately, it's not just about YOU! It's also about the millions of other Americans who cannot afford health insurance for themselves or their families. And just because nut-jobs like you don't give a crap about your fellow citizens, the majority of the rest of us DO and guess what??? WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE IT!. And by the way, here's a brief civics lesson for you: We had an election. President Obama was elected president by the majority of Americans. If you don't like that, then by all means excercise your right to vote and try to change it . . . .in 2012 which is when the NEXT ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT WILL BE!

    November 20, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. a health economist

    @ What???,

    The reason many people do not realize that we are already paying for the uninsured and have been for decades is it requires a little bit of abstract thought and reasoning skills. Unfortunately our education system doesn't do well in teaching these. It is much easier for someone to simply believe that no insurance equals no health care, period.

    November 20, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. walleye

    Thank you Mr Nelson. While we spent billions of $$ after 9/11 on a war in Iraq that no one wanted hundreds died every month because of no health insurance. Its time some of our money went to helping our own citizens instead of the Bush/Cheney oil interests.

    November 20, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. kate

    Every American should have access to health care. If everyone can't have it, then let every congressman and woman give theirs up. After all the taxpayers sent them to represent us and are paying for theirs.

    November 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Jim

    What is the problem with debating the bill? Why obstruct the debate? And if there is something you don't like, why not propose an amendment to the bill? I haven't heard any realistic alternative solutions from the Republicans, just obstructionism. And just a few years ago I remember them wanting to change the rules of filibusters because "Every nomination deserves an up or down vote." Well, this bill deserves an up or down vote.

    November 20, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. The Real Doug in New Jersey

    Ahah, something doesn't seem right. Ben Nelson not siding with the Republicans. Must have had an epiphany of 2010.....

    November 20, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. D.

    Starting a debate on something you and 40 others will not allow to go on to vote is a bigger obstruction than stopping the flood at the gate!

    November 20, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Has anybody out there noticed that not Republican has talked about his/her religion when it comes to the healthcare debate? Doesn't it make you wonder what Bible they read that make them so morally correct? It's a dishonor to use religion for your own self serving political purposes and not honor what's in the Bible.

    November 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Aspen Professor

    Way to go Nelson! Lets send the blantant lying Repubs back under their rock and pass (FINALLY!) a health care bill that will pull the USA up to the level of almost every other democratic nation in the world.

    November 20, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Peter s

    Thanks Sen. Ben Nelson for siding with the invisible poor! Sir, health care spending in the United States has been increasing absolutely, as a percentage of demestic output and per capital. I find it hard to believe when some special interest groups call healthcare reforms socialized medicine! as long as government would not own health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes nor would healthcare practitioners -doctors, nurses and technicians be government employees the argument holds no water!!!. In fact the reforms will help reduce the administrative cost, the present system is administratively chaotic and expensive because many private healthcare insurance are involved,each with its own procedures and claim forms. Take for instance, the Administration cost in the Canadian system are less than 5 percent compared with 17 percent in the United States.

    November 20, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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