Having stuck around long enough to do the dirty work of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has stated he will now vote no on reconciliation.
The original Senate bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), based on one crafted by the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), included language that would have maintained the status quo on coverage of abortion care. Nelson refused to vote for the bill until he extracted the “Cornhusker Compromise,” and replaced the abortion-neutral language with an amendment that experts believe will eventually result in the virtually complete loss of coverage for abortion care in the private insurance market.
In the end, the Bishops rejected Nelson’s language anyway, and the Cornhusker Compromise was removed in the face of public opposition.
Roll Call reports that Nelson now has “several problems with the reconciliation package.”
“No. 1, the student loan provision being included — not debated anywhere previously. It puts at risk 30,000 jobs at a time when we’re trying to create jobs all across America,” Nelson told reporters. “No. 2, the payroll tax on unearned income. I’ve always looked at that as a potential rescue for Medicare in the future and it goes into just general health care spending.”
His vote won’t affect the outcome because reconciliation only requires 51 votes for passage. But the damage to women’s rights has been done.