.- With the failure of the Nelson-Hatch Amendment restrictions on abortion funding, focus turns to a cloture vote to end debate on the Senate health care bill. While pro-life Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson had previously said he would oppose cloture without the amendment, a spokesman today declined to comment on the senatorâs plans.
Opposition to cloture would stop the bill from advancing.
Last week CNA spoke with Sen. Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson about the senatorâs amendment to the health care bill. Thompson said that Sen. Nelson would not vote for the health care bill or for cloture on the debate unless it had his amendment.
âThere has to be Stupak-like language,â Thompson explained, referring to the U.S. Houseâs version of the Nelson-Hatch Amendment.
However, Sen. Nelsonâs amendment was defeated by a 54-45 vote on Tuesday.
In a Tuesday statement, Sen. Nelson expressed disappointment at the defeat of his amendment.
âOur proposal to ensure that the Senate health care bill doesnât open the door to public funding of abortion was reasonable. It was rational because it followed established federal policy. And it was right because taxpayers shouldnât be required to pay for abortions,â he said.
According to Talking Points Memo, Sen. Nelson told reporters the failure of his abortion funding amendment "makes it harder to be supportiveâ of the Senate health care bill. He did not reiterate his pledge to filibuster the bill.
âWe'll just have to see what develops,â he said. âI have no Plan B.â
Seeking information about the senatorâs current plans, CNA contacted Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson again on Wednesday. Thompson said he had no comment.
Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., a Pennsylvania Democrat, was a co-sponsor of the Nelson-Hatch Amendment. Before the vote on the amendment, CNSNews.com asked the senator if he would still vote for the health care bill if the amendment were defeated.
The senator said he would not âdraw a line in the sandâ and added that the discussion would continue.
âThis vote will give people a chance to vote on the issue, this amendment will not be determinative of where the legislation will go,â Sen. Casey remarked.