Bill Clinton to Corral Senate Dems on Health Care

Meets with caucus as fight over abortion funding heats up
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 10, 2009 6:35 AM CST
Former US President Bill Clinton during a conference in Seville, Spain, Thursday, Nov. 5 2009.   (AP Photo/ Miguel Angel Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Bill Clinton is expected to speak to Senate Democrats about health care legislation during their weekly caucus today. Clinton's appearance comes as fragile Democratic unity is threatened by abortion opponents in the Senate seeking similar restrictions in the bill to those in the House version passed Saturday. Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said yesterday he could not support a bill unless it clearly prohibits federal dollars from going to pay for abortions, but the House restrictions prompted an angry backlash from liberals, some of whom are now threatening to vote against a final bill if the curbs stay in.

An intraparty fight over abortion is the last thing Majority Leader Harry Reid needs, as he already faces a revolt among Democratic moderates over the government-sponsored health plan that liberals want to incorporate in the legislation as a competitor to private insurance companies.