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Specter, Nelson pressured on healthcare

Nov. 28, 2009 at 4:25 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The only two Democratic U.S. senators to sign anti-tax pledges will be publicly reminded of their commitments, a Washington group says.

While President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are counting on Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Bob Nelson of Nebraska to provide the votes needed to enact passage of healthcare reforms, Americans for Tax Reform -- the group which persuaded them to sign the no-new-taxes pledge -- will publicly press the pair to uphold their commitment, the Washington publication The Hill reported.

"If they vote for this bill as the written it violates the pledge," Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told the publication.

He noted the Senate healthcare bill hits individuals with penalties for failing to purchase insurance and imposes higher Medicare payroll taxes on those earning more than $200,000, among other tax measures.

The Hill reported Nelson wrote a piece for the Omaha World-Herald in which he defended his vote to allow the bill to the Senate floor for debate, but wouldn't specifically discuss Norquist's pledge comments.

A Specter aide noted he has repeatedly stated he is "committed to voting for a fiscally responsible bill that does not add to the deficit."

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