All Eyes on Blanche Lincoln in Cliffhanger Senate Vote

Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson expected to back health reform in first vote
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2009 7:24 AM CST
U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., right, listens to a presentation attended by leaders of veterans' organizations and hospital staff at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System hospital in Little...   (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
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(Newser) – Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln is in the hot seat tonight, as the last Democratic holdout to the 60 votes Harry Reid needs in balloting tonight to bring the health care bill to the Senate floor for debate. Nebraskan Ben Nelson said yesterday he would vote yes, and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu told Politico last night she was "leaning towards" yes.

Reid wooed Landrieu with an extra $100 million in Medicaid funding for states hit by Hurricane Katrina. Ben Nelson emphasized that his yes vote on cloture doesn't mean he's satisfied with the bill, and he will fight for significant amendments on the floor. Lincoln is staying mum, but has told supporters unemployment and the economy should be a higher priority than health care reform. “It is all about jobs,” Lincoln said at a local appearance Thursday, the Cabot Star-Herald reports.