Before the Senate can vote on health care legislation, Democratic leaders have to make sure they have 60 votes lined up to end the filibuster, and that means dealing with the concerns of a number of swing voters, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). The vehicle for addressing those concerns will be a manager’s amendment, which will include the final version of a public option compromise that’s taken shape in the last several days.
But will it also include abortion? Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) suggests very strongly that it will.
After a press conference yesterday afternoon, another reporter asked Durbin how wide the scope of that managers amendment would be: “[I]s the scope of that just going to be to deal with the public option…or is it going to be broader than that–is it going to include abortion language?”“I think it’s likely to include most of the things that we need to bring this bill to a conclusion,” Durbin said.
“I’m sure the issues you just raised, as well as issues that have been raised by individual members.”
As I noted yesterday, pro-choice House members are keeping a close eye on the Senate legislation, and, as a contingency, are prepared for Reid to change the current, consensus language on funding for abortion. It’s possible that the changes could thread the needle, bringing Nelson and pro-life House members into agreement with pro-choice legislators in both chambers. But if it doesn’t things could get nasty. Stay tuned.