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Sen. Bill Nelson Challenges Obama, Angers Colleagues

September 25, 2009

BillNelsonEarlier this week, Senator Bill Nelson finally joined the health care debate by proposing an amendment which challenged President Obama’s controversial deal with the pharmaceutical industry. Severing Obama’s agreement with the industry to limit the amount they would pay as part of health care reform, Nelson sought a requirement that drugmakers rebate $106 billion over 10 years to the government.

The amendment frustrated fellow Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, leading Sens. Max Baucus, Thomas Carper and Robert Menendez to join Republicans on the comittee in defeating the amendment, 13-10.

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

Nelson’s refusal to pull his amendment brought a rare public admonishment from Baucus, the key author of the latest health care reform plan working its way through the Senate. “I frankly wish the senator had not pushed this amendment,” Baucus said of Nelson after more than an hour of debate and just minutes before he cast his vote against the amendment.

But Nelson, a Democrat, says he has assurance from Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that he will be allowed to present the amendment again when the health care bill makes it to the floor of the Senate later this fall.

Menendez told senators Nelson’s amendment “may very well undermine the essence of this agreement” and “put us in a position that makes it very difficult to move forward.”

Sen. Nelson’s Medicare Maneuver [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

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