Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.
"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"
Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:
The amendment would need 60 votes to pass, and pro-choice organizations count at least 41 senators who are solidly on their side. Each side is still playing their part, of course, with choice groups circulating frantic emails to their members about the "outrageous" Nelson amendment and a trio of key Catholic leaders sending a letter to senators to urge a "yes" vote on "an essential amendment."
So what happens when the Nelson amendment fails? Last week, Nelson was threatening to filibuster health reform if his abortion language was not included, but he's since walked that back. Even a Nebraska attention-seeker can only go so far, after all. Democratic leaders have said they're working on other compromises to win Nelson's support for the final bill, but it's unclear that he was ever willing to vote for health reform, even if his amendment were to pass. And other pro-life Democrats--like Bob Casey, who is a co-sponsor of Nelson's amendment--have not said the issue will determine their vote.