By Jordan Fabian - 11/21/09 02:37 PM EST
Other political hot topics, such as the war in Afghanistan, President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObamas dance with R2-D2, stormtroopers on Star Wars Day McConnell pledges to support Trump Obama meets ‘Little Miss Flint’ MORE’s trip to Asia and growing congressional opposition to Obama’s economic team, are likely to take a back seat to healthcare reform on this weekend’s talk shows. That’s because Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDemocrats race to link GOP incumbents to Trump Mellman: Give positive a chance Koch network super-PAC launches ad buys in Wisconsin, Nevada MORE (D-Nev.) this week scheduled his chamber’s first procedural vote on the bill for Saturday at 8 p.m.
Three of the most highly anticipated guests will be Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinLobbying World Judiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Elizabeth Warren stumps, raises funds for Duckworth MORE (D-Ill.).
Before Friday, Nelson would have likely been the most coveted guest on the Sunday circuit. For weeks he had threatened to vote against the motion to proceed due to his objection to the bill’s abortion language. The centrist Democrat believes that the provisions do not do enough to prevent federal dollars from paying for abortions under the health insurance exchange.
But Nelson on Friday said he would vote with his party to allow debate on the bill while stressing that his vote to proceed was not a vote for the bill, with which he still has concerns. Nelson also left the door open to supporting a Republican filibuster on the final cloture vote, making him one to watch when he appears on ABC’s “This Week.”
Like Nelson, Lieberman – who caucuses with the Democrats -- has said he would vote for the motion to proceed Saturday but has threatened to join a GOP filibuster. The centrist senator opposes the public option and has expressed concern with the bill’s cost. Lieberman will join a panel of guests on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Nelson’s announcement left two remaining holdouts on tomorrow’s procedural vote: Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (D-La.) Lincoln has not yet indicated when she will make up her mind on the vote but Landrieu on Friday announced she would declare her decision Saturday morning before the vote.
The man responsible for marshaling votes on the Democratic side of the aisle, Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), will appear on “Meet the Press” along with Lieberman. Expect David Gregory to question Durbin on Lincoln and Landrieu’s votes no matter the outcome.
Another member of the Senate leadership, Democratic Caucus vice chairman Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerRyan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' With Ryan’s blessing, lawmakers press ahead with tax reform talks MORE, is set to talk on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights Intel leaders push controversial encryption draft Democrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment MORE (D-Calif.) will join Durbin on “Meet the Press.” Two other Democrats will appear on the Sunday shows. Senate Finance Committee member Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowLet’s stand with retired military leaders to get healthy school meals over the finish line Dem senators: Slash executive pay at pension plans seeking benefit cuts Overnight Energy: Flint aid attached to water bill MORE and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) will appear on “Fox News Sunday.” Though Specter switched parties in April, he has emerged as a strong supporter of the legislation.
A number of Republican senators will appear on the Sunday shows to provide their points of view. Senate Republicans almost unanimously oppose the bill though it is still possible centrist Republican senators such as Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Trail 2016: And then there was one Maine Republican senator suggests she could back Trump Larry Wilmore, Sting party in DC ahead of WHCD MORE (Maine) could be wooed by Democrats to vote for final cloture. It is expected, however, for all Republicans to vote against Saturday’s motion.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell pledges to support Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report Garland confirmation vital to fair consideration of SCOTUS cases MORE (R-Ky.) will lead the Republican response; he will be interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) will talk alongside Schumer on “Face the Nation.” Senate Republican Conference chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (R-Tenn.) will speak on "Fox News Sunday."
Other rank-and-file Republicans are scheduled to speak on the Sunday shows. Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnGOP faces existential threat Sanders tops 2016 field in newly deleted tweets The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Okla.), a physician by training and a leading Republican voice on healthcare, will join Nelson on “This Week.” Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) is set to appear with Durbin, Feinstein and Lieberman on “Meet the Press.” Finally, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) willl join Alexander, Stabenow and Specter on "Fox News Sunday."
Two members of the House, Chief Deputy Whip Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump snags third House committee chair endorsement ‘It’s a King Kong vs. Godzilla kind of race’ Lawmakers strip criminal penalties from bill aimed at online ticket scalpers MORE (R-Tenn.), will appear on “This Week” to talk healthcare reform alongside Nelson and Coburn.