By Catherine Knowles, C3’s Director of Policy
Democratic Senator Ben Nelson (NE) announced this afternoon that he will vote for cloture on the motion to proceed Saturday.
Continue reading to see exactly what Senator Nelson said, and for additional updates on the pending vote.
In explaining his support for the procedural vote, Senator Nelson said “[t]he Senate should start trying to fix a healthcare system that costs too much and delivers too little for Nebraskans. Throughout my Senate career, I have consistently rejected efforts to obstruct. That’s what the vote on the motion to proceed is all about. It is not for or against the new Senate healthcare bill released Wednesday. It is only to begin debate and an opportunity to make improvements. If you don’t like a bill, why block your own opportunity to amend it?”.
The Senate began debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this morning. A cloture vote on the motion to proceed is expected around 8pm on Saturday. You can watch the debate and vote online.
If, as expected, Senate Majority Leader Reid gets the 60 votes he needs on Saturday, three weeks of debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will begin the week of November 30 and continue until right before Christmas. At the conclusion of debate and consideration of amendments, a vote on final passage of the health reform bill is expected sometime between December 18-23.
Numerous amendments are expected during Senate consideration of the bill, but even as was introduced this week, the Senate bill is very different from the bill that the House passed earlier this month which means that both chambers will have to conference their bills. House and Senate leadership has indicated that they would like to consider the conference report/final bill the second or third week of January in order to send a final health reform bill to the President before the State of the Union address.