In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Nelson: Let's Debate This Health Care Bill

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Though Reid insisted yesterday that he would not use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to pass a reform package, Nelson and other conservative Democrats continue to suggest that the threat of reconciliation is part of their calculation as they consider coming votes.

"As we have seen before, obstructionists are inviting a move toward reconciliation by opposing this first procedural vote," Nelson said. "Let's be clear. That route shrinks debate and amendments, eliminates bipartisanship and needs only 50 votes to pass a bill."

You can read his entire statement below.

For more than a year, Nebraskans and all Americans have debated health care reform in their homes, at work, and with friends at hundreds of town hall meetings.

This weekend, I will vote for the motion to proceed to bring that debate onto the Senate floor. The Senate should start trying to fix a health care system that costs too much and delivers too little for Nebraskans.

Throughout my Senate career I have consistently rejected efforts to obstruct. 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?

As we have seen before, obstructionists are inviting a move toward reconciliation by opposing this first procedural vote. Let's be clear. That route shrinks debate and amendments, eliminates bipartisanship and needs only 50 votes to pass a bill.

In the end, far more Washington-run health care policies win, but Nebraskans lose.

In my first reading, 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.

But I won't slam the doors of the Senate in the face of Nebraskans now. They want the health care system fixed. The Senate owes them a full and open debate to try to do so.

About The Author

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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