The Washington Times - November 20, 2009, 03:25PM

The healthcare showdown in the Senate starts Saturday.  Floor debate on the bill will not open unless Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can get all 58 Democrats and two Independents to vote to allow debate to begin on Saturday.

Three Democrats have been on the fence about allowing the debate to begin.  However Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson stated he will vote in favor of debate on Saturday.  Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana have yet to publicly commit.

SEE RELATED:


Sen. Reid may harken back to lessons learned from Senate majority leaders past in persuading colleagues. 

Local bloggers from states with Senators sitting on or near the fence offer comment:


BEN NELSON, NEBRASKA

Leavenworth Street: Ben Nelson vs. Mike Johanns
Note: This post includes several videos and updates on the Nelson decision.

“Sen. Reid is now saying that HE WON’T use reconciliation if cloture is not invoked. So…will that encourage Nelson to vote against cloture???

“But… Nebraska’s Junior Senator, Mike Johanns is trying to bend Nelson his way, pretty much calling him out…”

New Nebraska Network: Do the job you were elected to do!

“Nelson also offered the following indication of what we can expect from his vote on the motion to proceed:

“‘If you don’t like the bill, then why would you block your own opportunity to amend it or to improve it?  Why would you stop other senators from doing the job they’re elected to do - debate, consider amendments, take action on an issue affecting every American?’

“It’s nice to see that Nebraska has at least one Senator who’s willing to lead and to do the job he was elected to do.”

New Nebraska Network: Come back to us, Ben Nelson.

“Senator Nelson needs to come back to his roots, forget that he has become a multi-millionaire, remember the middle and working class people that were his neighbors in McCook, forget the millions he has received from insurance and health companies, ignore his former employees who are now agents of the insurance companies whispering in his ear, and vote yes three times to help the people of Nebraska.  Vote yes to start debate, vote yes to end the filibuster, and vote yes for strong health reform with a public option.”

Leavenworth Street: GOP taking Nelson to task.

BLANCHE LINCOLN, ARKANSAS

Arkansas Blog: Up or down on health care

“Copy to Sen. Lincoln:

“Survey says an overwhelming majority of Arkansas voters — regardless of feelings on the legislation itself — want debate in the Senate on the health reform bill. AND an up or down vote on the bill.”

Arkansas Blog: Blanche drops a hint.

“Might this statement mean Sen. Lincoln might actually allow debate on a health care bill?

“Key sentence: ‘Importantly, even if the Senate decides to open debate on this measure, there will be many days and weeks of efforts to improve it and I will look forward to your comments and observations.’”

Arkansas Tonight: Halter on Lincoln, healthcare reform.

“During this interview, Lawrence O’Donnell brought up the idea of Halter challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Democratic primary. Halter tried to beat around the bush and say he wouldn’t discuss 2010, especially not when he was trying to organize a free health clinic in Little Rock, but if you ask me, it looked like he’s running.

MARY LANDRIEU
LA News Link: GOP officials who endorsed Landrieu may face backlash over her vote.

“Mary’s vote could be an act of what some call “political homicide” for the Republicans who backed her!”

Red Stick Rant: We’ve Established What You Are; Now We’re Just Haggling Over Price.

“Is this a pointer toward Mary’s true allegiance: She will be hosting a fund-raiser for Harry Reid in New Orleans next month. I’m beginning to think all that fence-sitting talk was just that - talk - and she was just holding out for a better deal. M’thinks we been had, folks.”

LA News Link: Landrieu pushes for aid in Health Bill

LA News Link: Landrieu, The $100 Million Health Care Vote?

LA News Link: 84% Predict Landrieu Will Vote For ObamaCare Bill