Reid's 6 Biggest Headaches

Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman are two of them

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 28, 2009 8:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – To get the 60 votes he needs just to bring his health care bill to the floor of the Senate, Harry Reid is going to have to rein in some of his caucus' members. Politico surveys the majority leader's biggest challenges.

  • Joe Lieberman, Conn. The independent said yesterday he'll join a GOP filibuster if the bill's not changed. He's no fan of either a public option or Olympia Snowe's trigger option—though he might just be posturing.

  • Blanche Lincoln, Ark. She's facing an uphill election battle next year in a deeply red state. Yesterday she said she'll have "tremendous troubles" supporting a government-run program but wants to see the bill first.
  • Mark Pryor, Ark. He's ready to bring the bill to the floor but may not vote for it at the end.
  • Ben Nelson, Neb. The caucus' most conservative member is playing coy, saying it's "too soon" to take sides.
  • Evan Bayh, Ind. He's relaxed about the public option, but may vote against the bill depending on how it affects the average family's premium.
  • Mary Landrieu, La. She's "very skeptical" about the Reid plan and won't even say whether she'll vote for debate. Liberal activists in the Bayou State are already threatening her.

Sens. Mary Landrieu and Evan Bayh are seen as swing votes on health care reform.
Sens. Mary Landrieu and Evan Bayh are seen as swing votes on health care reform.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., left, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn, make their way off the Senate floor during deliberations on the economic stimulus, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, at the Capitol in Washington.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., left, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn, make their way off the Senate floor during deliberations on the economic stimulus, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, at the Capitol in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In this April 8, 2008 file photo Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., addresses the Vets For Freedom on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this April 8, 2008 file photo Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., addresses the Vets For Freedom on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., talks during the taping of Face The Nation at the CBS studios Sunday, June 29, 2008, in Washington.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., talks during the taping of "Face The Nation" at the CBS studios Sunday, June 29, 2008, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Face The Nation, Karin Cooper)
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., laughs before the taping of Face The Nation at the CBS studios Sunday, June 29, 2008, in Washington.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., laughs before the taping of "Face The Nation" at the CBS studios Sunday, June 29, 2008, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Face The Nation, Karin Cooper)
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., speaks during an aviation industry forum at a Dassault Falcon hangar in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., speaks during an aviation industry forum at a Dassault Falcon hangar in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009.   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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