Saturday, December 19, 2009

Breaking News: Benedict Nelson will vote for cloture

. . . with blood on his hands

The Cornhusker Kickback: Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) was bought, just like the others. Big, big, big surprise.  Harry Reid found his price. As HotAir is reporting this morning, Nelson and his state will receive a boatload of federal cash. The HotAir post gives the details about why none of the progressives who are for this bill will be bothered by the so-called anti-abortion funding language. Conclusion: Nelson caved on abortion and sold out for an extra year of federal Medicaid subsidies.

Here's a link for 2010, if anyone is interested. Nebraska Republicans Are Looking Ahead With Confidence

Here's Nebraska Governor Heineman speaking with Greta Van Susteren last week: HEINEMAN: Well, I haven't talked to him personally for a couple of weeks. We do run into each other at various functions, obviously, in our state. He knows my concerns. I think he's genuinely undecided right now. There was also a poll released today that showed by a margin of 67 percent to 26 percent, Nebraskans are opposed to this health care bill. Slow down. Get it right. There's nothing magical about getting this done by Christmas.

Ha! There is if you're Harry Reid. And now Ben Nelson as well, since he's saving Offutt AFB and bringing cash to his state. What's that put up against a few dead babies one way or the other, hey Ben?

Page 98 of the managers amendment specifically identifies Nebraska for higher federal matching funds, fully funding its expansion for an additional year:

‘‘(3) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, the Federal medical assistance percentage otherwise determined under subsection (b) with respect to all or any portion of a fiscal year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, for the State of Nebraska, with respect to amounts expended for newly eligible individuals described in subclause (VIII) of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i), shall be determined as provided for under subsection (y)(1) (A) (notwithstanding the period provided for in such paragraph)

Subsection (y)(1)(A) refers to page 399 of the original merged Senate legislation which fully funds state Mediciad expansions for the first two years. The manager’s amendment also provides 2.2% increase in FMAP to help states finance their existing Medicaid programs.

From Allahpundit at HotAir: That will be worth at least hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash for Nebraska … for the first three years. After that, Nebraskans get as screwed as the rest of the country. **Nope, that's wrong. We will be paying for Nebraska's Medicaid--forever. See below, Update #2.

A downloaded version of the manager's amendment is here.

Update. Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) reacts to the Dems takeover of health care after buying off Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska: "jamming it through in the middle of the night on the last weekend before Christmas. . . . this is not renaming a post office."

Here's a partial transcript; the video is below.

Mitch McConnell: a few things about the bill you need to know.

  • The bill slashes hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare to fund a massive new government bureaucracy. We know there are cuts to hospitals. We know there are cuts to nursing homes. We know there are cuts to home health care. And we know there are cuts to Hospice.
  • With regard to taxes. The bill includes massive tax increases on American families and on American businesses—doing that at a time of double digit unemployment. Taxes will make it much harder to create jobs as we try to come out of this economic slowdown. There are taxes on health insurance. There are taxes on medical devices. There are taxes on medicine. And there are taxes on working families with very high medical expenses.
  • Abortion. The bill includes permissive language on government funded abortions, language that would lead the federal government to violate long-standing policies on abortion funding.
  • The class act: referred to earlier this year by the chairman of the budget committee as a ponzi scheme, is in the bill.
  • Medicaid. This is particularly interesting. The bill imposes massive burdens on states that are already struggling under the weight of the costs of Medicaid. At the same time, however, it gives special sweetheart deals to a select few states [NEBRASKA]. Interestingly enough, two states that stand out are Nebraska and Vermont.

So, what is the upshot of this for taxpayers elsewhere, taxpayers in Kentucky, and even in Nevada? –and Ohio, and Virginia, and New York, and Michigan? They end up, in effect, paying more so that Nebraska and Vermont can get a special deal.

So our conclusion would be this, based on what we know so far on the bill still being read and analysed, not only by my office but everybody else in the Senate who hasn’t seen it , and all of you. Our friends on the other side like to talk about making history about the historic steps they’re taking. The history that’s being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that’s being made here is the ignoring of the will of the American people. The history that’s being made is that a bill that was sold as helping a major problem in our nation actually makes the problem worse, because independent non-partisan score keepers tell us that premiums, taxes, and overall health care spending will actually go up under this bill.

America, if this was a good bill with bipartisan support, I assure you they would not be trying to pass this the weekend before Christmas and in the middle of the night. And the reason I say the middle of the night, the next vote, literally, will be the middle of the night. It will be at 1:00 a.m. Monday morning. The presumption is, of course, that no one will be watching. If this was a good bill with bipartisan support, if we had followed Sen. Snowe’s advice several weeks ago, to sit down and write this bill in a way that could pass the Senate with 80 votes, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. This is an absolute outrage that’s being perpetrated on the American people—an absolute outrage. Americans need to know what’s going on, and we’re going to give them every opportunity to learn as much as we can and they can about this as the process moves forward. -end transcript-

Update. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) is working behind the scenes, trying to sink the abortion compromise. This subject may warrant its own post--we'll see where it goes. "We ain't done yet!"

Update #2. What did Nelson get for his vote? He got the federal government to pick up most of his state's future Medicaid tab--forever. That means, of course, we all--except those who live in Nebraska--get to pay for Nebraska's Medicaid. Read it here at Politico.

So then why doesn't everybody in the Senate just sell their vote on this thing--like Bayh or Lincoln or Pryor or any of the other Dem, any of whom obviously could represent the 60th vote? These people are getting nothing for their vote. Allapundit at HotAir asks, "Is there some strategic point to this that I'm missing or are they simply the royal schmucks we suspect them of being?" They certainly must feel like schmucks right now, giving away their votes for "free."

Update #3. BigGovernment has the story of Sen. Nelson's bribe. In its quixotic attempt to ensure everyone has health insurance, the Reid legislation greatly expands Medicaid eligibility. Because Medicaid is a program whose costs are split between the federal and state governments, this expansion in eligibility raise costs dramatically for states. States will be forced to either raise taxes or cut other services to accommodate the forced increase in Medicaid spending. Unless that state is Nebraska.

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