No closure-cloture deal

NE senator and healthcare reform holdout denies he was threatened with base closure

Published December 17, 2009 7:59PM (EST)

Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, who along with Senators Joe Lieberman (I, CT) and Olympia Snowe (R, ME), remain the key holdouts in the Senate healthcare reform showdown, told a home state radio station today that he was not threatened with a base closure in his home state if he didn't get on board with reform.

Nelson told KLIN/Lincoln radio hosts Jack Mitchell and John Bishop that he knows who started the rumors and when it comes to light it will be "embarrassing for the other side of the aisle," presumably meaning a Republican senator or senators is behind it.

The bad news for Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama is that Nelson continues to have problems with the abortion provisions in the bill, and although overtures have been made toward him, he continues to hold firm in his resistance until the abortions provisions he disapproves are stripped away.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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Ben Nelson D-neb. Healthcare Reform