The White House yesterday sought to preserve the fragile alliance of Democratic liberals and moderates backing broad health care reform legislation, with tough decisions looming on abortion and a new government-run insurance program.

The White House predicted that the bill, President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority, will win final congressional passage, and called it a major achievement even if it does not give Obama and his fellow Democrats everything they want.

Democratic holdout Ben Nelson announced his support for the Senate legislation Saturday after securing language aimed at ensuring federal funds are not used to pay for abortions and winning extra health care funds for his home state of Nebraska.


Nelson’s support gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid the 60 votes he needs in the 100-seat Senate to pass Obama’s top domestic priority by Christmas.

Senate Democrats are planning a series of crucial procedural votes that were scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. today.

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