As many of us suspected, Senator Ben Nelson was not holding out on the Senate “reform” bill because of any real scruple he has on abortion (or anything else). Like any roundheel, he was just negotiating price. Turns out that (part of) the payoff involved extra Medicaid funds for his state:
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 …
There are still more pieces of silver to count out, however. That’s not quite 30. Nelson is going to make an announcement later today, providing the latest rationale for his inevitable perfidy. Maybe then he’ll tell what else he got, but I doubt it.
Probably, we’ll have to wait (as usual) for the blogosphere to tell us. Details at eleven …
This guy is truly a profile in cowardice. He’s STILL hedging his bets. Here’s what he said (via Michelle Malkin) in his statement about his latest betrayal:
I reserve the right to vote against the next cloture vote if there are material changes made in conference.
That’s code for “I’ll ask for more money when it comes time for final passage of this thing.” Man, would I hate to share a fox hole with this character.
Stupak said that he has discussed the Senate’s abortion position with conservative Democratic senators Ben Nelson and Robert Casey. His opposition to the senate’s language, in spite of those conversations and intense pressure from the White House, could augur a challenge to the compromise in the House when the two versions of the bill are reconciled.
Stupak, unlike Nelson, actually has the courage of his convictions. So, it will be interesting to see how this turns out.