Nebraska governor to Ben Nelson: Kill the bill

posted at 10:12 am on December 17, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

No pressure, as Brian Faughnan points out; it’s not like Nebraskans hate ObamaCare or anything.  (Oh, wait, yes they do.)  Governor Dave Heineman called the bill “bad news for Nebraskans” and urged Nelson to block a vote on it:

The governor said Wednesday that a new analysis by Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services indicates that while state spending on Medicaid, the health care system for the poor, would be less in the first three years after the bill took effect, Nebraska, after six years, would have $45 million in extra expenses.

“America’s health care system needs improvement, but this bill is not the answer,” Heineman said in a letter to Nelson. “You are now the 60th vote, and as Governor of the State that we both represent, I urge you to vote against this bill and against cloture.”

This just gives Nelson a little more incentive to stick to his guns on abortion.  In fact, Heineman may have intended this as a lifeline to Nelson to give him a handy excuse for remaining stubborn.  Besides, Nelson has more objections to the ObamaCare Rump bill than just the fact that it will use federal monies to fund abortions for the first time ever:

The Nebraska centrist on Wednesday outlined concerns with a disability insurance program the bill would create, cuts in Medicare payments to home health care providers and nursing homes, and unspecified tax increases. In addition, he expressed concerns that the bill would underpay some Medicare providers while not doing enough to contain long-term health care costs.

“Until those things are corrected, it’s not something I can vote for right now, and not something I can vote for cloture right now,” Nelson said on a conference call with reporters…

An aide to Nelson said that, taken individually, the several problems he has with the bill were not deal-breakers, but that together they were enough for Nelson to withhold his vote.

That list keeps getting longer, and nothing that has happened in the last few days has resolved any of those issues.  He’s also opposed to the CLASS Act, a portion of the bill addressing the needs of the disabled, as a new entitlement that will quickly drown in a sea of red ink.  Given that he wants compensation to providers increased and better savings at the same time, it will be difficult for Reid to accommodate him without hefty tax hikes that will not just kill the bill outright but also any slim hopes for Democrats in 2010.

Who’s the biggest winner if Nelson holds out?  Brian argues that it’s Blanche Lincoln, who desperately needs this bill to die in order to have any chance of winning her own election next year.  He may be right.  If Nelson successfully torpedoes the bill without Lincoln having to take any position on cloture — assuming Reid doesn’t call Nelson’s bluff and holds that cloture vote — then Lincoln will be free to spin herself as a fiscal conservative, despite waffling on ObamaCare.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I seriously can’t believe that both Mark Warner and Jim Webb will vote for this thing either, after the landslide victory by Bob McDonnell in Virginia. I would love to see McDonnell write both of them a similar letter. This bill will blow a huge hole in Virginia’s state budget too.

Tim Pawlenty ought to do this too. Make Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken own up to the costs they are going to impose on the citizens of Minnesota.

In fact, it would be a good tactic for Haley Barbour to have all Republican governors write to their senators urging them to oppose this bill.

rockmom on December 17, 2009 at 10:52 AM

I was thinking the same thing reading through this thread. Great leadership shown by the Nebraska governor. Every other Republican governor of states with democrat senators should follow this example and call out their state’s representatives.

PatMac on December 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Every other Republican governor of states with democrat senators should follow this example and call out their state’s representatives.

PatMac on December 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM

My Christmas tree has more balls then Pawlenty.

Mirimichi on December 17, 2009 at 1:58 PM

It wouldn’t shock me to hear that O Bomber has instructed Reid to go ahead with the cloture vote, just to force the issue; to make every Senator’s vote known (again, for political hay-making next year and beyond). That’s how Emanuel thinks – one or two elections ahead. They really need to point out that they were “just ONE vote away from saving America” and (insert Senator’s name here) torpedoed that legislation….along with however many Republicans wind up voting for or against cloture – and two names in particular come to mind.

They need a political EXCUSE for failure and this would be a perfect excuse.

GoldenEagle4444 on December 17, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Voting for this bill will be the same as cutting your political throat. Only question now is, how many Japanese do we have in the US Senate willing to commit ritual suicide.

GarandFan on December 17, 2009 at 2:27 PM

My Christmas tree has more balls then Pawlenty.

Mirimichi on December 17, 2009 at 1:58 PM

And bigger, shinier ones at that. Come on, he was elected to govern MINNESOTA, don’t expect perfection.

leftnomore on December 17, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Every other Republican governor of states with democrat senators should follow this example and call out their state’s representatives.

PatMac on December 17, 2009 at 1:40 PM
My Christmas tree has more balls then Pawlenty.

Mirimichi on December 17, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for Pawlenty to show some leadership and his conservative bona fides if he really is thinking of running in 2012. What do you say, Pawlenty, are you in or are you out?

PatMac on December 17, 2009 at 8:21 PM

If Nelson successfully torpedoes the bill without Lincoln having to take any position on cloture — assuming Reid doesn’t call Nelson’s bluff and holds that cloture vote — then Lincoln will be free to spin herself as a fiscal conservative, despite waffling on ObamaCare.

I understand what you’re trying to say here, but politics here (I live in Northwest Arkansas) aren’t going that direction.

Blanche is very very unlikely to keep her seat. The only reason she did so well last time around against Jim Holt is simply because Jim refused to take any business money at all, and the republican party wouldn’t fund him AT ALL.

He ran his entire campaign on less than 200k while Blanche ran on over 6 MILLION dollars worth of funds. source: http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.php?cycle=2004&id=ARS2

A well funded candidate (which will happen this time around) will easily bowl Mrs “I don’t respond to mailed in questions” right out of her seat.

I’ve been looking forward to this election cycle for a while now. I quite intend to throw a large party when she loses. The more fiscally conservative her replacement the better.

One Angry Christian on December 17, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Full disclosure: I volunteered on Mr Holt’s campaign.

One Angry Christian on December 17, 2009 at 8:22 PM

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