In December, Senator Ben Nelson made national news on our show by vowing not to vote for health care reform in its current state. He also expressed doubt that anything could be done before Christmas. If you know your recent history, that changed dramatically when Nelson struck a controversial compromise and became the 60th vote to break a GOP filibuster.
The day after the national Health Care Summit, Senator Ben Nelson joined us on the show to give us his thoughts. Once again, the Senator wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion but he also indicated that the controversial reconciliation process Democrats have threatened to use to pass health care reform wouldn’t keep him from voting on the plan if it’s to his liking.
Among some of the more interesting things Nelson said:
—He feels vindicated from criticism on the so-called “Cornhusker Kickback” benefit that was originally given to just Nebraska back in December in exchange for the Senator’s cloture vote. In the current Obama proposal the federal government would pay for Medicaid expansion coverage for all states, not just Nebraska. Nelson now says the benefit should be touted the “Cornhusker Kickoff” for his efforts to get that expense off the states’ backs.
—Reconciliation, the controversial Senate procedural tactic used to avoid a filibuster, is “the least prefered method” according to Nelson, of passing reform. But he would not vote against health care reform, on principle, if the tactic is used by his party. If the bill is to his liking, Nelson said he would vote “yea.”