Lincoln Will Vote for Debate

Harry Reid just unclenched a little more: Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln said she will vote to allow debate on the health-care reform bill. One potential hitch: Lincoln said she would not vote for a health-care bill if the public option stays. Lincoln was the last moderate Democratic holdout after Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who also opposes a public option, said she would vote to allow debate Saturday. The Democrats need all 60 members of their caucus to vote for debate, since Republicans are unanimous in their opposition. Lincoln, Landrieu, and Ben Nelson (D-NE) were the three key centrist senators wavering on the legislation. Landrieu is thought to have been swayed in part by a generous package for relief for states that have been hit by disasters in the past seven years--huge for post-Katrina Louisiana. Nelson won antitrust exemptions for the insurance industry, which were going to be revoked. The vote is scheduled for 8 p.m. tonight.