Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) announced Monday evening that he would vote "no" on the health care reconciliation package that was approved Sunday by the House and is expected to hit the Senate floor on Tuesday.
Nelson, who was widely seen as the 60th vote to help Senate Democrats clear health care reform in December, stood by his vote for the underlying, $875 billion Senate bill. But he cited several problems with the reconciliation package.
"No. 1, the student loan provision being included — not debated anywhere previously. It puts at risk 30,000 jobs at a time when we're trying to create jobs all across America," Nelson told reporters. "No. 2, the payroll tax on unearned income. I've always looked at that as a potential rescue for Medicare in the future and it goes into just general health care spending."
Reconciliation legislation only requires 51 votes for passage, and Nelson's opposition is unlikely to prevent Democrats from passing the health care sidecar bill.