Nelson: We’re Making Progress, But No Surefire Agreement

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid huddled behind closed doors this afternoon with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)–a pro-life, conservative Democrat, and one of the last remaining holdouts in the caucus on health care reform.

Emerging from the meeting, Nelson told reporters that he and leadership are closing in on an agreement that will secure his much-needed support for the legislation, but they’re not there yet.“Hopefully we’re making progress,” Nelson said. “As I said, there’s always a lot of room which you have to have between the bid and the ask, and we’re seeing if we can close the gap.”

Asked whether a resolution was likely today or tomorrow, Nelson offered little clarity: “I don’t know. I can’t predict the time.”

Once Reid has rounded up 60 votes, he’s expected to unveil his manager’s amendment and file for cloture on it, and the underlying legislation. He’s like to do that tomorrow morning, but if Nelson’s not on board, he may have to wait. And, of course, the Democrats’ self-imposed Christmas Eve deadline for passing reform is at stake.

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