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Ben Nelson
  • Robert Byrd Selfishly Remains Alive Despite GOP Prayers

    As I'm sure everybody knows by now, the Senate voted 60-40 (right along party lines) in favor of the health care reformish bill of recent debate, thus decimating Republican hopes of a filibuster. And do you know which quasi-Democratic senator America really has to blame for this?

    No, it's not Ben Nelson, who, at zero hour, decided that he was more in favor of health care reform than in the subjugation of women.

    And it wasn't Joe Lieberman, who — after seeing to the gutting of substance from the bill — apparently ran out of plausible reasons to torture Democrats.

    Nope, it wasn't Bernie Sanders, who, I'm guessing, eventually got around to looking around the room at the people he was talking to, slumped his shoulders and gave up hope of actually accomplishing anything non-cosmetic.

    The real villain in this health care reform bill passage is the ailing 4,947-year-old Dixiecrat Robert Byrd who obstinately refused to die over the weekend, despite the most strenuous prayers of Republicans…

    At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation's passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That's what they ought to pray."

    It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.

    To be totally fair to Sen. Coburn, I suppose he could have been praying for an icy car accident fatality of any one of the 60 Democratic senators.

    I don't mean to mischaracterize his words.

    Tags: Ben Nelson, Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Health Care, Joe Lieberman, Republicans, Robert Byrd, Senate, Tom Coburn
  • Senate Health Care Vote Decided by Ben Nelson, a Sack of Money and Abortion

    Couple quick corrections, here. One: Turns out a Stupak-style anti-abortion amendment to the Senate health care bill was non-non-negotiable for Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). In fact, that's what he spent the entire weekend negotiating, which brings us to… Two: Joe Lieberman may not be the most important widdle Senator in Washington after all, though he is still the widdlest.

    Ben Nelson wound up being the final holdout, the lone soldier who could've prevented Senate Democrats from getting the 60 votes they needed to proceed with health care reform, and all it took to get him on board for last night's this morning's roll call was a promise of free Medicare for Nebraska forever.

    Plus, of course, a compromise on abortion coverage, which is all the rage these days…

    [A] woman who receives federal subsidies to help her buy coverage and selects a plan that offers abortion services would have to send two checks to the insurance company. One would be placed in an account reserved specifically for abortion coverage.

    Genius. Keeping those reproductive rights-having ladies and their radioactive legal-procedure-paying-for dollars separate from the rest of America via annoying paperwork, that's really the point of this whole thing, isn't it?

    Just a warning for Ben Nelson and anyone else traveling to visit relatives this week: You may be forced to drive on highways that were paid for in part by women who have had or may someday have an abortion, and there is absolutely no legislation to prevent that from happening, at least not yet.

    Tags: Abortion, Ben Nelson, Democrats, Health Care, Senate
  • Sen. Ben Nelson Will Filibuster Any Health Care Plan That Is Not Hostile to Women's Rights

    Remember back when all the Republicans were screaming at the top of their lungs trying to warn us of the dangers of a Democratic super majority?

    That sure turned out to be a waste of breath

    Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Thursday that the need for stronger anti-abortion language in the Senate health care bill is "non-negotiable," and he would filibuster the legislation without it…

    Nelson's insistence on the Stupak language creates another significant problem for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who cannot lose a single vote from his Democratic caucus and still pass the bill without picking up Republican support…

    "It is Stupak language," Nelson said. "I've said at the end of the day if it doesn't have Stupak language on abortion in it I won't vote to move it off the floor."

    I wonder if Republicans are starting to get nervous. It seems like they've becoming increasingly superfluous.

    Tags: Abortion, Ben Nelson, Health Care, Men and Women, Senate
  • Inauguration Night Life: The Congresspeople of Congress

    Earlier we gave you a taste of the red-hot celebrities who descended upon Washington in hopes of getting within eyeshot of mega-church mega-star Rick Warren!

    What you may not realize is that inside the Beltway, the likes of Tom Brokaw, Michael Wilbon and company are considered second-tier celebrities. Sure they may have fame and fortune, but can any of those guys invoke cloture on floor debate or suggest the absence of a quorum?

    For those kinds of stars, we want you to meet the men and women who keep Washington running… Escorts.

    But also, here are some photos of us with members of Congress.

    Here's California Congressman Henry Waxman, who celebrated his recent election as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by purchasing a shiny new pair of platform shoes.

    The hottest name in Washington right now (or at least since Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) lost re-election) has to be Roland Burris, the brand-new Senator from Illinois. Here he is caught off guard by a man wearing a wet cat on his head, whom he mistook for Governor Rod Blagojevich.

    Sen. Olympia Snowe is a real nice lady who represents the State of Maine. She grew up in Augusta, moved to Auburn, but now lives in Falmouth, which is over under Cuxabexis down to the Penobscot County line, cross to Caucomgomoc, then get on a snow machine and head yourself down to Piscataquis… well… actually you can't get theah from heah.

    We had a great time with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who wants you to know that Omaha is the home of the College World Series and Warren Buffett — and is a great stopover on your way to Wichita.

    And here is Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who is also a nice man. Although come to think of it, maybe this one is Ben Nelson, which would make the other guy Bill. We understand that this kind of confusion is always popping up between President Jimmy Carter and Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter.

    Jesse Jackson, Jr. looked trim and fit at the Illinois State Society Gala, and the ladies on his arm would certainly agree. No doubt Jackson had just arrived from a 3 hour sparring session at Sugar Ray Leonard's Maryland gym, preparing for his upcoming prize fight with Rep. Michele "Rambo" Bachmann (R-MN) on the House floor.

    Tags: Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, California, Florida, Henry Waxman, House of Representatives, Illinois, Inauguration, Jesse Jackson Jr., Maine, Nebraska, Olympia Snowe, Roland Burris, Senate, Washington DC