One of the big questions left as healthcare reform moves toward the Senate floor is whether a small group of Democrats from red states, most with heavy ties to business, will attempt to filibuster the final bill. Among them is Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska), who reportedly was telling folks back home he would not filibuster in June, but now might help block a vote.
So what's it all about? Perhaps getting to know our hosts a little better would help:
- Amy Tejral- once Nelson's Legislative Director, Tejral has found more lucrative work representing insurers like Aetna, United Health Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bravo Health and pharmaceutical giant Medco at lobby-shop Avenue Solutions, which specializes in "creating opportunities the private sector needs in Washington." As the firm's website says: "We maintain relationships for the long haul and for the hot issue... Among Democrats, we have relationships with all the key players, from the Leadership, to Committees, to the newest Members."
- Henry Bonilla- a former Republican Congressman from Texas, now a lobbyist for The Norman Group.
- Sheryl Bonilla- wife of Henry, who lobbies for UPS on Healthcare, among other issues.
Should be an interesting event, particularly because there's no telling who the guests, each ponying up $1000 for lunch, will be. It's a safe bet, however, that more than a few of them will have some involvement with the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, looking to curry favor with show their steadfast support for Senator Ben.
*If you've got $1000 to donate to Nelson's 2012 Senate bid.
Update 1: Turns out that Nelson was working very hard today to wreck the public option by reviving "triggers". Sure to please at least a few of tomorrow's donors.