Nelson: I’ll Filibuster Post-Conference Health Care Bill If House Forces Major Changes

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Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) confirmed moments ago that he will support the Senate health care bill, which will soon be amended to include new, more restrictive abortion language. But, he says, he reserves the right to filibuster the very final version of health care legislation if it changes significantly when Senate and House negotiators meet to agree upon a single package of reforms.

“Without in any way intending to be threatening–to be more in the more of promising–let me be clear, this cloture vote is based on full understanding that there will be a limited conference between the Senate and the House,” Nelson said. “If there are material changes in that conference report, different from this bill, that adversely affect the agreement, I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote–let me repeat it–I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes to this agreement in the conference report. And I will vote against it if that is the case.

Unlike the so-called Stupak language in the House, Nelson’s abortion language would not forbid people who receive subsidy assistance from the federal government from buying insurance policies that cover abortion. However, according to Nelson, the money that pays for each such policy will have to be separated into two pools–one that pays for the abortion coverage, and one for all other services.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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