Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that it was “absolutely essential” to pass “substantial health care reform legislation” this year, adding that “the best prospect for that to happen is under reconciliation,” which allows a measure to be passed with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes that otherwise would be needed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said earlier this week that he would “consider” using the budget reconciliation process for health care. But Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) tells Bloomberg today that he would “vote against his party’s budget if it included the reconciliation procedure”:
The Senate’s draft of the budget omits the reconciliation language. Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, said he would vote against his party’s budget if it included the reconciliation procedure.
“That’s a deal-breaker,” Nelson said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate to determine the health-care delivery system, the changes that will be there, through the reconciliation process.”
Nelson isn’t the only moderate Democrat warning against the use of the budget reconciliation process. Yesterday, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that “reconciliation is going to cause partisan warfare” that “would set health care reform back.”