The View From 1776
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
An Odor Too Rotten To Ignore
Even a major mainstream, liberal-progressive newspaper columnist finds repulsive the back-room vote-buying deals needed to stop a filibuster of the Senate’s National Socialist healthcare bill.
Read an assessment of Obamacare back-room politics by Dana Milbank, a liberal-progressiv columnist for the liberal-progressive Washington Post.
Formally, it is known as H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But this week, it has acquired an unhelpful nickname: “Cash for Cloture.”
As Senate Democrats finally complete their health-care legislation, those combing through the bill have uncovered many backroom deals that were made to buy, er, secure the 60 votes needed to “invoke cloture”—the legislative term for cutting off debate and holding a final vote.
First there was the “Louisiana Purchase,” $100 million in extra Medicaid money for the Bayou State, requested by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
Then came the “Cornhusker Kickback,” another $100 million in extra Medicaid money, this time for Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
This was followed by word that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) had written into the legislation $100 million meant for a medical center in his state. This one was quickly dubbed the “U Con.”...
Gator Aid: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) inserted a grandfather clause that would allow Floridians to preserve their pricey Medicare Advantage program.
Handout Montana: Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) secured Medicare coverage for anybody exposed to asbestos—as long as they worked in a mine in Libby, Mont.
...Indeed, the proliferation of deals has outpaced the ability of Capitol Hill cynics to name them…
“That’s what legislation is all about: It’s the art of compromise,” Reid said when asked about the fairness of it all. “So this legislation is no different than the defense bill we just spent $600 billion on.” That would be the bill with more than 1,700 pet-project earmarks. “It’s no different than other pieces of legislation,” Reid continued.
And that’s just the problem.