Another Day, Another Sellout Senator

Via Hot Air/Think Progress

Ben Nelson traded his vote for a big (temporary) payoff for Nebraska. 

Under the current merged legislation (the version unveiled on November 18th), the federal government fully finances care for the expanded population for two years and increases its matching funds (known as FMAP) thereafter. 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)

So the state of Nebraska gets a pass on paying for Medicaid expansion for a few years.  But what happens after the three years are up?  Nebraskans will be kicking in for this abomination like the rest of us.  In the meantime, the majority of Nebraskans still will be forced to buy health insurance, will see their premiums rise and many will see a decline in their coverage.  And all the while, their tax dollars WILL pay for abortions.   Just ask Bart Stupak. 

Lieberman Tells Reid He Will Vote Against His Super Sekrit Health Care Bill

Joe Lieberman has drawn a line in the sand – get rid of the Medicare “buy-in” and dump the government insurance plan (public option by another name) or he will vote against the whole shebang. 

In a surprise setback for Democratic leaders, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, said on Sunday that he would vote against the health care legislation in its current form.

The bill’s supporters had said earlier that they thought they had secured Mr. Lieberman’s agreement to go along with a compromise they worked out to overcome an impasse within the party.

But on Sunday, Mr. Lieberman told the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, to scrap the idea of expanding Medicare and to abandon the idea of a new government insurance plan, known as a public option.

On a separate issue, Mr. Reid tried over the weekend to concoct a compromise on abortion that would induce Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, to vote for the bill. Mr. Nelson opposes abortion. Any provision that satisfies him risks alienating supporters of abortion rights.

In interviews on the CBS News program “Face the Nation,” Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Nelson said the bill did not have the 60 votes it would need to get through the Senate.

Senate Democratic leaders, including Mr. Reid and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, said they had been mindful of Mr. Lieberman’s concerns in the last 10 days, so they were surprised when he assailed major provisions of the bill on television Sunday. He reiterated his objections in a private meeting with Mr. Reid.

Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Lieberman dropped that bomb.

Democrats Vote To Start Debate On Healthcare Bill

No big surprise here after the events in the days and hours leading up to the vote.  Lieberman and Nelson caved and then the Southern Belles sealed the deal.

The Senate voted along party lines Saturday night to overcome a Republican filibuster and bring to the floor a bill that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system.

After days of indecision, the last two Democratic holdouts — Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) — joined their caucus in supporting a motion to begin debate. The 60 to 39 vote marks a milestone in the decades-old quest for health-care reform, President Obama’s top legislative priority.

We all know about the 3 million reasons why Landrieu voted for the bill, but Lincoln has no excuse.  Her approval rating is tanking in Arkansas and if the bill passes (God forbid), her constituents can place the blame on her for allowing it to move forward. 

Battle lost, but the war rages on.

Melt the phones – don’t let up.

Senate Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Joe’s Revenge: Lieberman Will Filibuster Public Option; Landrieu, Lincoln & Nelson Also Holding Their Ground

Democrats and the sneering editors at Newsweek should stop worrying about a “problem like Sarah” and look within their own dysfunctional party at who could ultimately kill the public option or the health care bill in its entirety.

Joe Lieberman:

“I don’t think about that stuff,” Lieberman told POLITICO this week. “I’m just — I’m being a legislator. After what I went through in 2006, there’s nothing much more that anybody [who] disagrees with me can try to do.”

 Lieberman left the Democratic Party in 2006 after liberal Ned Lamont beat him in Connecticut’s Democratic Senate primary. Lieberman defeated Lamont in the general election and returned to Washington as an independent, where he continues to caucus with Democrats — even though he accuses them of engaging in a bit of bait and switch when it comes to the public option.

“It’s classic politics of our time that if you look at the campaign last year, presidential, you can’t find a mention of public option,” Lieberman said. “It was added after the election as a part of what we normally consider health insurance reform — insurance market reforms, cover people, cover people who are not covered.

“It suddenly becomes a litmus test. I thought Democrats were against litmus tests.”

Mary Landrieu:

Landrieu told CNN she has concerns relating to the bill’s costs to small businesses and individuals. She also expressed opposition to a public health insurance option “that will undermine the private insurance market.” If that’s included in the measure, she said, “it needs to come out at some point.”

Ben Nelson:

Ben Nelson, a key conservative Senate Democrats, said on Wednesday that he was pleased with the changes party leadership had made to health care legislation, specifically on matters of deficit reduction. But the Nebraska senator, whose vote has been elusive to pin down so far, said he would be comfortable being the lone Democrat to prevent the bill from overcoming a Republican filibuster.

“I’m very comfortable having my vote, whatever it is, whichever way it goes,” Nelson said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post. “I’ve said that from the beginning. There are other ways. I just have to make a decision based on what I think is best for the people of Nebraska and the people of our country. And then we will let the chips fall wherever they fall.”

Blanche Lincoln:

Her vote will be the most politically painful no matter what she does.  Her poll numbers in Arkansas are tanking; at last check her approval rating was at 43% which is down 11 points from last year  Not only will she face a tough race against one of seven potential Republican candidates, she could end up fighting for a place on the ticket against a primary challenger from her own party.

If Lincoln supports the Senate bill, she will have to sell it to constituents before they see many of the legislation’s benefits. But she says she is well aware of the challenge. “I have no doubt that I’ll be held accountable on this,” she said. “We’re going to be held accountable on a lot of things.”

How’s that super majority working out for you, Barry?

Democrats Eating Their Own Over Health Care

Howard Dean’s uber lefty group, Democracy for America, has launched an attack ad against fellow Democrat  Ben Nelson.

Ben Nelson responded with a blistering letter:

“Recently, similar ads have run in Nebraska. Those ads by other special interests prompted hundreds of Nebraskans to call our offices, with 9 to 1 urging Senator Nelson to do exactly the opposite of what the special interest group wanted. deanScreamIn short, the ads backfired.

“If the impact is the same this time, Howard Dean’s Democracy for America will be sorely disappointed. Further, these scare tactics are certain to further divide the public on health care reform, make it less likely Congress will pass real reform and call into question the motives of those who say they want reform, but use the issue to raise money to try to buy influence inside the Beltway.

As someone once said in one of my favorite movies of all time “Oh boy, this is great!”