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Another sneaky Saturday in the Senate — and Teddy K’s ghost rises again; Update: Nelson caves…but says he “reserves the right” to change his mind; Nelson’s Medicaid payoff

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 19, 2009 01:14 AM

Scroll for updates…9:53am Eastern. Nelson caved. The Senate clerk is now reading the Reid amendment….the full, 383-page amendment is here…Democratic caucus is meeting off the floor. Nelson to speak at 10am Eastern. Dem leadership to crow at 10:45am Eastern….Nelson announces support at press conference. Says he is satisfied by abortion language. He reads a perfunctory statement praising Reid and White House, then says with the most passion in his voice: “I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes” made in conference.

Remember the last time Harry Reid was presiding over a sneaky holiday weekend on the Senate floor?

Yep. Right before Thanksgiving. November 21. It was “Cash for Cloture” day for Sen. Mary Landrieu, who secured a $300 million payoff to give the majority the required 60 votes for cloture on a Demcare bill…that has been replaced with another bill that the American public STILL HAS NOT SEEN.

Well, the word on the Hill as of late Friday night/early Saturday morning is that Dirty Harry has made “real progress” in “talks” with Democrat holdout Sen. Ben Nelson over abortion — and over his payoff.

Via AP:

In a statement issued late Friday night, Reid says he intends to unveil final revisions to the measure on Saturday and is confident they will prevail. Nelson also said real progress had been made but said there was nothing final. Nelson has been seeking greater restrictions on abortions as well as more money for his home state in last-minute talks.

“Blank check” indeed. Leave your bets on the final dollar amount.

Making an even greater joke of transparency, Reid will unveil his massive manager’s amendment and the CBO scoring of this legislative mystery meat on Saturday morning after the 7:30am Eastern defense authorization bill vote.

Yep. Around 7:30am Eastern on the Saturday before Christmas. When normal people are making breakfast for the kids, wrapping last-minute presents, cleaning their houses for out-of-town guests, or still sleeping.

Who conducts business this way?

Only people with something to hide.

Only furtive power brokers doing everything in their power to avoid full, public scrutiny and an open, deliberative process.

Welcome to another sneaky Saturday in the Senate brought to you by the Democrat culture of corruption.

Now, make sure to take time out of your busy Saturday before Christmas and burn up the Capitol switchboard (202-224-3121) with a clarion message for your Senators:

No. Hell no.

Say it louder and often. Spread the word. Sound the alarm. They are pretending not to hear you yet.

A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!

***

More details of the Nelson negotiations from the LA Times:

Nelson, who has been pushing for tougher restrictions on federal funding for abortion, emerged from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office just after 9:30 p.m. following talks with Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a leading supporter of abortion rights.

Nelson provided few details about the negotiations. It’s “one of those situations where it’s probably best for everybody to sleep on it tonight and talk again tomorrow,” he said.

Boxer, who came out later, was more upbeat. “I’m optimistic that we can get 60 votes,” she said.

And from the WaPo:

Nelson told reporters late Friday that he remained dissatisfied with abortion-related language in the $848 billion bill. But he is also seeking changes to benefit his home state while easing the bill’s burden on factions of the health-care industry, including home health-care services and health-insurance providers.

“We’re working on a lot of things,” Nelson said during a break in the talks. “Whether we’ve decided anything or not, the answer is probably not.”

***

Desperate times for desperate Demcare demagogues call for desperate measures. Time to drag out Teddy Kennedy again!

The moment Ted Kennedy would not want to lose

My late husband, Ted Kennedy, was passionate about health-care reform. It was the cause of his life. He believed that health care for all our citizens was a fundamental right, not a privilege, and that this year the stars — and competing interests — were finally aligned to allow our nation to move forward with fundamental reform. He believed that health-care reform was essential to the financial stability of our nation’s working families and of our economy as a whole.

Still, Ted knew that accomplishing reform would be difficult. If it were easy, he told me, it would have been done a long time ago. He predicted that as the Senate got closer to a vote, compromises would be necessary, coalitions would falter and many ardent supporters of reform would want to walk away. He hoped that they wouldn’t do so. He knew from experience, he told me, that this kind of opportunity to enact health-care reform wouldn’t arise again for a generation.

***

The remaining holdouts to put on your phone list:

Olympia Snowe:

Mailing Address:
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-5344
Toll Free: (800) 432-1599
Fax: (202) 224-1946

Email form here.

James Webb and Claire McCaskill:

Webb contact info…

Washington, D.C.
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-4024
Fax: 202-228-6363

Toll Free Number
1-866-507-1570

Email form for Virginians here.

McCaskill contact info…

Missouri Office Locations
Please visit our Missouri offices

Cape Girardeau
555 Independence Room 1600
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63703
Phone 573-651-0964
Fax 573-334-4278

Columbia
915 E. Ash St
Columbia, Mo 65201
Phone:573-442-7130
Fax:573-442-7140

Kansas City
4141 Pennsylvania, Ste. 101
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone 816-421-1639
Fax 816-421-2562

Springfield
324 Park Central West
Suite 101
Springfield, MO 65806
Phone 417-868-8745
Fax 417-831-1349

St. Louis
5850 A Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112
Phone:314-367-1364
Fax: 314-361-8649

Washington D.C.
For those visiting D.C., please stop by our office at:

Office of Senator Claire McCaskill
United States Senate
Hart Senate Office Building, SH-717
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6154
FAX (202) 228-6326

***

9:53am Eastern. Nelson caved. The Senate clerk is now reading the Reid amendment. Democratic caucus is meeting off the floor.

Via Mike Allen at Politico:

HEALTH REFORM COULD EFFECTIVELY PASS AT 1 A.M. MONDAY, when Senate Democratic leaders hope to have the first of three cloture votes. If they get 60 votes then, they probably will have 60 through final passage. If Republicans follow through on their vow to insist that all the rules are followed (30 hours between cloture votes, with an intervening day), the last vote could be at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, according to a timeline distributed by leadership.

BOB SCHIEFFER, to Katie Couric, on last night’s “CBS Evening News”: “No one can say exactly what’s in it, how much it’s going to cost. What we’re hearing and seeing here tonight, Katie, is the legislative process at its worst.”

WHAT CHRISTMAS WEEK COULD LOOK LIKE, according to the Senate Dem timeline pasted here:

–SATURDAY, DEC 19th — 7:20 am – Final passage on DoD approps bill. Note: After the DoD bill is dispensed with, Leader Reid can file cloture on the manager’s amendment, the substitute amendment and the overall bill on health care.
–SUNDAY, DEC 20th — Wait for cloture to ripen
–MONDAY, DEC 21st — 1 am – Cloture vote on manager’s amendment
–TUESDAY, DEC 22nd –7 am – Cloture vote on substitute
–WEDNESDAY, DEC 23rd — 1 pm — Cloture vote on overall bill
–THURSDAY, CHRISTMAS EVE — 7 pm – Final passage vote on health care reform

At the bottom, the timeline says: “This schedule can be sped up if the Republicans decide to cooperate and yield back time rather than delaying and forcing 30 hours to be expended on each cloture motion.”

10:06am Eastern. Nelson says “I truly believe this legislation will stand the test of time…the lives of millions of Americans will be improved.” Says he signs on to the first cloture vote based on abortion compromise and other changes.

He reads a perfunctory statement praising Reid and White House, then says with the most passion in his voice:

“I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes” made in conference.

Another empty threat to raise hopes that he’ll be a maverick? Sigh, sounds like it.

***

Nelson sold out for an exclusive Medicaid payoff: Read here.

And the CBO score finally materializes: At least $2.5 trillion and assuredly more in taxpayer subsidies…for inferior coverage and lower doctor payments.

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