Friday, November 20, 2009

What a yes vote in the Senate costs these days

ABC reveals how much Mary Landrieu seems willing to sell her vote for the Reid health bill. The going rate seems to be $100 million. In Reid's view, that's cheap at the price, especially since it's all just coming out of the taxpayers' pockets.
What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?

Here’s a case study.

On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)

Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.
I wonder if the rest of Louisianans who oppose the bill will think that she negotiated a good deal for her vote.

The funny thing is that, in the old days, they could insert these couple of pages into a big bill and be confident that no one would figure it out, at least until it was too late. In these days of the internet, they can't hide things like this anymore.

3 comments:

Bachbone said...

Louisiana seems to be an easy mark. Obama got Rep. Cao, a Republican -the only one to support it - to vote for Pelosi's version of the Health Care boondoggle by promising him he'd "...work together to address the health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP [underfunding of Medicaid] crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals."

Gee, I hope Cao has that "commitment" in writing or on videotape. Even then, twenty or thirty witnesses would be helpful. Especially since Medicaid is already verging on insolvency and every state governor west of the Atlantic Ocean will soon be asking for a federal bailout to balance their budget.

If Tennessee Ernie Ford could reincarnate himself, he could top the charts again with that song "Sixteen Tons" simply by changing one word: "I owe my soul to the federal store."

tfhr said...

Ha! They're calling the Mary Landrieu buy-off, "The Louisiana Purchase"! I wonder if she has a freezer big enough to hide $100 million?

Pat Patterson said...

Cao represents the same district that William Jefferson did and that has a 75% Democratic registration. And regardless of his own political views a huge maority of his constituents were in favor of the bill. The fact that he held out till the very end was politically risky. But that one vote will not save him and even if there are substantial Republican gains in 2010 he will not be around for the 2011 session of Congress.

Sen Landrieu has increased her reelection risks for almost the opposite reason. Louisiana is split on the bill and she had promised not vote for the bill, though this was only a cloture vote, then to not vote for the bill unless certain things were removed or added then finally arriving at she wouldn't vote for the bill for less than $100 million. Now that is maturing in office!