Michael Goldfarb reports:
While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.
Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.
Indeed, Offutt is the headquarters for US Strategic Command, the successor to Strategic Air Command, and not by accident. STRATCOM was located in the middle of the country for strategic reasons. Its closure would be a massive blow to the economy of the state of Nebraska, but it would also be another example of this administration playing politics with our national security.
I'm hoping for the country's sake that this report is false, but will keep you posted as new details emerge... As Glenn Beck noted on his morning radio program, if this report is true, there is much more at stake here than just health care.
Update: Sen. Nelson is denying the report; Weekly Standard is reporting their source is strong and is not backing down from the claim.
Update II: Local news is reporting that Senator Nelson has told the AP, "My vote is not for sale - period." Both Nelson and the White House are saying the "rumor" is "completely false." This local news story also claims the source of the rumor is conservative columnist Michelle Malkin--a claim that is false to my knowledge since the story originated from the Weekly Standard.
Update III: The Weekly Standard continues to stick by its source--and now apparently 2 more. Michael Goldfarb says not only is his original source in this story strong, but two others have come forward with information to confirm the story. Stay tuned...