Nelson Might Support Reconciliation to Pass Health Care

Posted January 27, 2010 at 3:11pm

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) clarified Wednesday that he might support a health care reform package passed under reconciliation rules, as long as he felt the underlying legislation warranted his vote.Using reconciliation to sidestep an expected Republican filibuster of a House-Senate health care bill is one of Democrats’ few options for clearing a bill in the wake of Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s (R) victory in the Massachusetts special election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D). Brown becomes the GOP’s 41st vote.Under reconciliation, the Democrats could pass certain aspects of health care reform with 51 votes, as opposed to the usual 60. Senate Democrats passed their version of health care reform with 60 votes — every member of the Democratic Conference — on Christmas Eve.“I’ve been asked about whether I’d support using the process known as reconciliation now. So, I want to make it clear: If I support a bill, then I will vote for it regardless of whether it takes 50 votes to pass or 60 votes to pass. My position doesn’t change just because the House or Senate decides to change the process,— Nelson said in a statement.Nelson has come under fire at home for supporting the Democrats’ health care bill but has maintained his support for the legislation. The Senator said he hopes President Barack Obama lays out a path forward on the issue during Wednesday’s State of the Union address.“I would hope the president would clarify where he stands on the path ahead,— Nelson said.