I hated the bill and then I loved the bill (along with the dollars). The bill paid for abortion and was bad, but then it magically didn’t pay for abortions and was good. My vote pushed the bill forward, but just so you know, I don’t think the bill should have been pushed forward.
Those sentences are paraphrases of what Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has been telling Nebraska voters ever since coming home for the holidays. Nelson was the last Democrat hold out for the Senate version of the health reform bill. He was holding out for a pro-life amendment to be added to the bill. Instead, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered Nelson a very different amendment. If Nelson would vote for the bill, than Nebraska (specifically by name) would get $100 million for Medicaid paid to the state. Nelson’s vote was officially bought.
The incident is now infamously known as the “Cornhusker Kickback.” It has gotten a lot of attention. Recently even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California has removed his support of Obamacare. The Governater jokes that the only way California will support the bill is if they get a special deal like Nebraska.
“California’s congressional delegation should either vote against this bill, that is a disaster for California, or get in there and fight for the same sweetheart deal that Senator Nelson of Nebraska got for the Cornhusker state. Because that Senator got for the Cornhusker state the corn, and we got the husk.” – Gov. Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger knows how to call a spade a spade. Nelson, however, thinks he can talk his way out of this one. The Senator has been running ads and talking to the media in an attempt to spin the story in his favor. He recently asked The Freemont Tribune to interview him on this topic. (Special thanks to Jill Stanek for catching this one.)
“I think it was a mistake to take health care on as opposed to continuing to spend the time on the economy…I think everybody’s felt rushed, because they set a number of different deadlines and didn’t meet them. I think it was unwise in retrospect.” – Sen. Nelson
A mistake? You don’t get to be the 60th vote that was needed to push Obamacare forward and then claim it was a mistake or unwise to push Obamacare this year. Such an obvious spin deserves either laughter or a smack in the face. I’m not suggesting anyone smack the man, but he either thinks his constituents are idiots or can be bought as easily as him.
To make things worse, Nelson claims in his next breath that he “took a bad bill and made it better” and that he didn’t do it for the money. He alleges that even though the “Cornhusker Kickback” amendment gives Nebraska $100 million by name, it’s really for all states and Nebraska is sort of a representative state for them.
“The Congressional Budget Office could not, in the time frame we had, figure out what states would opt in and what states would opt out, and couldn’t put a number to it. So what they did is just put $100 million on Nebraska in a line item in there. It’s really nothing more than a place holder for us to deal with the issue in conference, which I’ve already started doing.” – Sen. Nelson
Do other states really believe that? “Hey states, don’t worry. I’ll just hold this money meant for all of us in my own bank account.” Is that kind of like when Barack Obama said his Nobel Peace Prize is really a prize to all of us? If so, I’m still waiting on my share of the prize money and my turn to hold the medal.
Senator Nelson, you don’t get to have it both ways. You can’t be for it and against it. The bill can’t be pro-choice and pro-life. You can’t take money for you and say it is for everyone. The real “mistake” was to trust you to do what was right for America.