President Barack Obama's attempt to overhaul health care has found the subject of abortion to be the latest major snag to tie up the measure in the U.S. Senate.
Moderate Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., is withholding his vote, saying the bill must include stricter limits on taxpayer-funded abortions.
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Senators will be working through the weekend on the health care proposal.
Many Republicans say the Democrats' deadline for a vote on health care before Christmas is "totally unrealistic."
"This bill has become a political nightmare, a literal political nightmare," Senate Minority Leader Mitch, McConnell, R-Ky., said to the Senate president. "This whole process, Madam President, is essentially a charade."
Meanwhile, Democratic hopes that a Republican would cross party lines in favor of the measure have evaporated.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has come off the fence, saying she will not be voting in favor of the bill.