Nelson supports health bill after tough bargaining

December 19, 2009 6:53:24 AM PST
A holdout no more, Democratic Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson agreed Saturday to provide the 60th and deciding vote for Senate passage of sweeping health care legislation, capping a year of struggle and a final burst of deadline bargaining. Nelson had a brief response -- "Yeah" -- when asked whether he would support the measure as he strode into a private caucus of fellow Democrats.

With that vote, President Barack Obama's Senate allies appear on track to pass the legislation by Christmas, overcoming Republican opposition and a swirling early winter snowstorm.

Nelson disclosed his decision as Majority leader Harry Reid unveiled a final series of changes to the measure, including concessions to Nelson on abortion, funding for his state and more.