On Notice

Could Nelson Lose His Job?

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) said he would support health-care reform legislation Saturday after months of negotiating and compromises, which resulted in some pretty sizable concessions for his home state. Yet his job could still be at risk. Although Nelson may have succeeded in inserting abortion-restricting measures into the health-care bill (and thereby infuriating some more liberal members of his party), he did not win a total ban on any government money going to insurance plans that cover abortion. Nelson's long record of strongly opposing abortion won him support among many independent and Republican voters; if he softens his pro-life position, those folks could be up for grabs. (In one voter's words, "He'd be toast.") Nebraska Right to Life, which gave Nelson its lone endorsement in 2006, said the senator had betrayed abortion opponents. And the head of the Nebraska GOP predicted that supporting health-care legislation would kill Nelson's career.