The Washington Times - December 18, 2009, 08:07PM

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) emerged from evening talks with Democratic leaders over his reservations on the health care bill still pending in the Senate.

“There isn’t a deal. The discussions continue. This isn’t quite an offer or acceptance situation. This is a discussion that is ongoing with a variety of different points to be made,” said the Senator from Nebraska.”Some of them are about abortion, some of them are about adoption, some of them are about conscience clause. So there is quite a bit of complexity.”


Mr. Nelson has taken issue with the health care bill’s language on federally funded abortions. The Senator wants tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions. He described some of the ideas being worked on saying, “There are revised concepts, rather than provisions. They are the kind of concepts that would exclude any kind of federal funds directly or indirectly being used to fund elective abortions.”

Medicaid is another health care bill issue Mr. Nelson has had issues with. He told a Nebraska radio show, “A Medicaid expansion would “create an underfunded federal mandate for the state of Nebraska.” Tonight, it seems Senator Nelson is optimistic about the Medicaid issue.

“We’ve gone through a lot of that. I think most of it is being looked at in terms of cost and perhaps even some drafting in anticipation, that we might be able to agree on,” he said.

Senator Nelson also told the Washington Times and other reporters at the Capitol tonight that he still cannot predict where he currently stands on voting for cloture, but he does not feel like he is an obstruction to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) timeline either.  “I think he’s anxious to move forward on something, but I don’t believe I’m the hold up.”

 Mr. Nelson seems unconcerned about the health care bill Christmas deadline as well.:

 “I’m not focused on that deadline. What will be will be when it comes to the deadline. That’s up to the leader to establish. I’ve seen a proposed schedule, but I’m not going to predict if we’re going to meet that schedule. I’m focused on getting this right rather than doing it according to a deadline.”