At a special evening meeting of the Democratic caucus tonight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined, in broad strokes, the details of his health care bill, which the CBO has found, in a preliminary analysis, will expand coverage to 94 percent of Americans while reducing the deficit. And earlier in the day, during a separate meeting about floor procedure, Reid let three of his party's key skeptics know that if they join Republicans at any stage of the process to block the bill, he still retains the option of passing major parts of it through the filibuster proof budget reconciliation process.
Read More →
In response to a question from TPMDC Nelson told reporters that, at a meeting this afternoon with Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Reid "talked about process, procedure, discussion about reconciliation and a whole host of issues of that sort."
"Nobody's really jumping up and down to push for reconciliation," Nelson said, "he's not threatening that, but anybody can conclude that if you don't move something on to the floor, that is one of the possibilities."
Nelson said he has still not committed to vote for even the first procedural vote, but in a sign that he's leaning toward bringing a bill to the floor, he emphasized his view that the floor debate is a chance to improve the legislation. "I wanted to make it clear that that is, unlike some are suggesting, is not the vote...it's a motion to enter into the debate and possible amendments and improvements of the legislation" Nelson said. "The vote is the second cloture vote, and that is the cloture on a motion to cease debate, and I wanted that clear, because I've already begun to see people out there say, 'oh no, no, if you vote [to take it up] you've voted for health care."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has explicitly stated that the Republican party will treat Democrats who vote for any procedural motion as if they've voted for the entire health care bill.