RUSH: Now, let’s look at the timing here and why they’re running out of time to pass this bill before Christmas, before the end of the year in the Senate. ‘If the Senate has any hope of passing the health care bill before Christmas, lawmakers will need to cast votes in the dead of night and early in the morning next week. The Senate would essentially stay in session 24 hours a day next week to burn the clock on procedural rules that require a 30-hour break between votes.’ But Dingy Harry has shown that he doesn’t mind breaking rules. He’s talked about using reconciliation if he has to, that reading of the Bernie Sanders amendment was stopped in violation of Senate rules. So who’s to say that Dingy Harry won’t do something with the 30-hour rule between votes?
So here’s how it would look. ‘Following passage of the Defense Department appropriations bill…’ and I think that has passed, and that wasn’t expected to pass until tomorrow morning, but they did it early this morning, late last night barely getting it through. So Harry Reid has to file cloture on three things now. The manager’s amendment, which is the real bill, the substitute amendment and the underlying bill. The manager’s amendment is what Mitch McConnell says nobody’s seen. Now, this would set up the first cloture vote on the manager’s amendment on Monday at one o’clock or maybe now Sunday night at six p.m. ‘The 30-hour clock would begin to run, setting up the second cloture vote on the substitute amendment at Tuesday at 7 a.m. The cloture vote on the underlying bill would follow on Wednesday at 1 p.m.’ They got 30 hours you have to wait after that. That takes you to 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Maybe they could get it done in the morning on Christmas Eve but that’s if everything falls into place. Everything falling into place includes Ben Nelson, and he’s not there yet.
I’ll give you a couple reasons why. Right now in Nebraska Ben Nelson is at 51% approval, 41% disapproval, according to the Tarrance poll. Now, there’s a state treasurer in Nebraska, very popular named Shane Osborn. He’s already running against Nelson, who’s up in 2012. Now, Shane Osborn is a hero of the US plane that China forced down in 2001. 2012 is long enough for the problems in the bill to surface but before the benefits kick in, and Nelson is looking at this. The problems in the bill are all the regulations and all the tax increases, and they start immediately. But the benefits, quote, unquote, benefits, the so-called spending and getting everybody covered, that doesn’t start ’til 2014. So none of the so-called good in the bill will show up, even though it’s all good, I’m giving you Nelson’s frame of mind here. The bad part of the bill will show up immediately. He also has businesses and pro-life groups pounding him. A lot of ads are being run in Nebraska. If Ben Nelson votes for cloture on the health care package at any point from here on out without the abortion language being sanctioned by an outside pro-life group and mainly in Nebraska, that means the US Catholic bishops, he will either not run for reelection or he’ll be defeated. It’s that bad.
If he caves on abortion and votes for this thing, he’s finished, and he knows it. He’ll either retire and not run or he’s gonna get creamed in 2012. So they’re very much worried about Nelson. And in fact Reuters has the story here today: ‘Democratic hopes for passing a broad health-care overhaul in the Senate took a hit Thursday when a crucial party holdout, Ben Nelson, rejected a compromise on abortion funding aimed at winning his vote. Senate Democratic leaders, racing the clock to finish work on the bill before leaving for the holidays, struggled to line up the 60 votes they need to overcome Republican procedural hurdles.
‘Democrats have no margin of error: They control exactly 60 votes and face so far unified Republican opposition. … Nelson, an abortion rights opponent, said compromise language designed to strengthen a ban on using federal funds for abortions was not good enough to meet his concerns. ‘As it is, without further modifications, the language concerning abortion isn’t sufficient,’ Nelson said in a statement, adding he would not back Democrats on a series of upcoming procedural votes without more changes to the bill.’
He’s a legitimate holdout and for all the reasons that I have mentioned to you. You got Bernie Sanders saying he’s not in there yet; Roland Burris saying he’s not in there without a public option, but those two guys could be handled pretty easily. Nelson is another story.
RUSH: And let’s also not forget this. The leaders of the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union said the Senate bill had been watered down so much by these changes to appease party members that they don’t like it. ‘We don’t like the bill. We think it has to be improved, but we have no belief that these senators are going to do anything better.’ Clinton is out there saying, (imitating Clinton) ‘If you don’t get this passed right now, it’s going to be lost forever, and don’t make the mistake I made. If you don’t get this passed, you are dead meat. You’re a dead meat nation.’ President Clinton, you’re advising these guys on political suicide. They are dead meat if they vote for it.