Nelson gives farewell speech on Senate floor
U.S. Senator Ben Nelson gave his farewell speech to the Senate Wednesday, emphasizing he was thankful for the opportunity Nebraskans gave him to serve and urging his colleagues to work in a more bipartisan way to solve the country's woes.
During a teleconference with reporters prior to the speech, Nelson said the ugly division in Congress makes it difficult to get things done, but that is not what is driving him to retire. Nelson said getting to his bucket list and a comment from one of his children that he would "like to spend more time with his father" convinced him it was time to leave.
The Nebraska congressional delegation took Senator Nelson out to dinner Tuesday night as part of their farewell to the state's senior lawmaker. Nelson said it was a dinner that reflected how well the five men get along even though he is the only Democrat.
Nelson said the night wasn't a "roast" but they did give him grief about the Senate Majority leader's comments regarding his hair, which Harry Reid calls "Hair Force One".
Nelson says he has no regrets about his most controversial vote in Congress, his support of President Obama's controversial health care legislation. Nelson cast the "deciding"vote, and many believe it would have made it difficult to win re-election if he decided to run for another six years.
Nelson says he's still convinced the benefits of the bill outweigh the issues opponents have with the legislation. Nelson says he will never be able to convince ardent opponents of the bill but he thinks a lot of other people are finding out they will be better off with affordable health care and a way to obtain it through insurance.
Nelson also noted the biggest benefit is insurance for those with preexisting conditions.
Nelson said "sometimes you anger the majority to do what's best for the minority"
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