Sen. Nelson May be Moderating His Position
By S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - After receiving a firestorm of criticism from pro-life groups,
losing endorsements from important state political action committees, and
watching his approval ratings slide downward, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) appears
to be moderating his stand on national health care reform.
On Thursday, Jan. 15, during a press conference celebrating a new job training
program at the Center for People in Need in Lincoln, Senator Nelson said, “I
hope to get back” to the restrictive abortion funding language approved in the
He was referring to the Stupak Amendment, introduced by Congressmen Bart Stupak
(D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA), during House debate on the health care reform
bill, which was approved in early November.
Senator Nelson introduced a similar amendment to the Senate in early December,
along with his colleagues Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Robert Casey (D-PA), but it was
tabled. The Senate bill later passed with a “compromise” on the abortion issue,
which effectively allows tax monies to be used to subsidize elective abortions,
though Senator Nelson maintains otherwise.
While he is not personally on the committee of senators and representatives who
are trying to devise a compromise between the Senate and House bills with input
from the White House, Senator Nelson told reporters that he is in daily contact
with the negotiators and keeping an eye on how the bill is being shaped.
“I have expressed my concerns about any changes,” he said. “There are some
particulars I have problems with… It’s a delicate balance.”
Such statements could once again put Senator Nelson in the pivotal position
between the pro-life minority in Congress and his own Democratic party, which is
predominantly in favor of abortion “rights.”
Having lost the support of pro-life organizations including Nebraska Right to
Life (NRTL), Senator Nelson also stands to receive personal gain if he votes
against a bill that does not include the Stupak amendment.
For example, he may receive endorsement by NRTL when he comes up for re-election
“If Senator Nelson voted no on a final cloture vote and it meant the demise of
the bill; it would probably be a point of discussion for our PAC,” admitted NRTL
Director Julie Schmit-Albin. “It ultimately would accomplish what we wanted him
to do at the outset: stop the bill unless it contains the correct abortion
Washington insiders expect the final version of the health care reform bill to
be presented to congress by the end of the month.
2013 Southern Nebraska Register Publication Dates
(Resume Jan 4, 2014)
November 27 (Wed.)