In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Will Health Care Reform All Come Down To Ben Nelson?


That leaves Nelson. Nelson is threatening to filibuster over a different issue: abortion. He wants the health care bill to prevent the millions of people who would be receiving federal insurance subsidies from buying policies that cover abortion. His amendment, codifying that idea, is not expected to pass.

Reid says he's happy to continue negotiating with Nelson if his abortion measure goes down in smoke. And perhaps Nelson will take a second crack at a compromise, or will relent on his filibuster threat. But we likely won't know until after his amendment goes down.

At his weekly press conference today, I asked Reid what his next move is if Nelson defects. Reid suggested more compromise is the only option. "The purpose of legislation is to build consensus," Reid said. "It's not often that you have a piece of legislation that is perfect. But we can not let the perfect be the enemy of the good."

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) was a bit more dramatic "I'm unafraid of everything, and afraid of everything. I'm exactly where I should be.... we have no votes to lose."

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