For months Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Nelson has said he wouldn’t make up his mind on health care reform until he had an actual bill in his hands.
Nelson’s all-important decision may be nearing as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unveils a health care reform bill and a vote on a motion to proceed with debate could happen as early as Friday or Saturday.
Nelson has been lobbied heavily from both sides because his vote along with about four other Senators will likely decide whether or not Reid’s bill even reaches the floor.
It takes 60 votes to block a filibuster in the Senate. Nelson may have hinted at a vote to block the filibuster during his weekly conference call with reporters Wednesday, saying a filibuster could lead to a worse coming before the Senate.
Nelson downplayed the significance of that vote during the same conference call saying, “Some of those seeking to define it as a vote in favor of the Reid bill are either misinformed or are intentionally trying to mislead people.”
Those lobbying Nelson to vote against the motion to proceed say that it would be his only opportunity to block the health care reform bill that is likely to include a government run public option.
If the bill does gain the 60 votes necessary to reach the floor for debate and block the filibuster, it would only take 51 votes to pass the bill itself.