In order to secure Democratic Senator Ben Nelson's vote for cloture on Obamacare, Senate Democrats had to provide his home state with untold hundreds of millions of dollars.
In other words, he was bribed. Anyone who says otherwise is in denial.
And there it is.
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)
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.
Impossible to miss.
Now, with all the increased cynicism about Obama from the public, I can't help but wonder how his approval ratings would turn if rather than staying silent, he publicly called out the the Senate as a whole for embracing this level of outright bribery.
Of course, we're all cynics. Sadly, this behavior from the Senate is what we've grown to expect.
If wouldn't hurt so bad for many Americans if Obama hadn't run on changing that tone. On cleaning up Washington. On hope and change.
And what are we left with? A level of legislative bribery worse than any in memory.
It didn't have to be that way. With one phone call - with one speech - with one press release, Obama could have reinspired America's faith in their leaders.
But instead, it's more of the same.
It all reminds me of one of the first youtube videos I made. One from soon after the November election.
UPDATE: Mark Steyn from NRO had a great post last night on The Corner...
I like the way this guy puts it: "Cash for cloture."
This line from Congressman Cantor caught my eye:
They’re allocating taxpayer dollars as if those dollars belonged to the senators. It borders on immoral. Just look at the way Senator Landrieu put her vote up for sale. Senator Nelson did the same.
You can't even dignify this squalid racket as bribery: If I try to buy a cop, I have to use my own money. But, when Harry Reid buys a senator, he uses my money, too. It doesn't "border on immoral": it drives straight through the frontier post and heads for the dark heartland of immoral.