All these kickbacks and bribes to get this legislation through AT ALL COSTS.
A STUPAK PAYOFF “U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced three airports in northern Michigan have received grants totaling $726,409 for airport maintenance and improvements. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.”
Just a coincidence wouldn’t you say?
STUPAK ANNOUNCES $726,409 FOR AIRPORTS IN ALPENA, DELTA AND CHIPPEWA COUNTIES
Give Rep. Bart Stupak, D-MI, credit, the guy knows how to act. He kept up the charade of opposing Obamacare on principle – no abortion funding with tax dollars – right to the end, then switched once he was satisfied he’d found a sufficient fig leaf to be able to work the issue both ways.
This is classic political hypocrisy. But it’s not like Stupak didn’t tell us that’s what he would do before. Speaking in a constituent meeting in Cheboygan Oct. 24, 2009, Stupak laid out a scenario that is eerily like what just transpired in the nation’s capitol. Substitute ”Executive Order” for ”Amendment” in Stupak’s description, and you’ve got it.
Here are some of the earlier kickbacks:
“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 ti me 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.”
Earlier, when GOP staff member mistakenly thought the medical center was destined for Indiana rather than Connecticut, they named it the ”Bayh Off” for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.).
For Democratic leaders, this created an appearance problem. Fortunately, they had removed from the bill the tax on cosmetic procedures (the ”Botax”) and replaced it with a tax on tanning (which would primarily impact House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio).
”I don’t know if there is a senator that doesn’t have something in this bill that was important to them,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reasoned when asked at a news conference Monday about the cash-for-cloture accusation. ”And if they don’t have something in it important to them, then it doesn’t speak well of them.”
Indeed, the proliferation of deals has outpaced the ability of Capitol Hill cynics to name them.
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.
Iowa Pork and Omaha Prime Cuts: Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) won more Medicare money for low-volume hospitals of the sort commonly found in Iowa, while Nebraska’s Nelson won a ”carve out” provision that would reduce fees for Mutual of Omaha and other Nebraska insurers.
Meanwhile, Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, both North Dakota Democrats, would enjoy a provision bringing higher Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors in ”frontier counties” of states such as — let’s see here — North Dakota!
Hawaii, with two Democratic senators, would get richer payments to hospitals that treat many uninsured people. Michigan, home of two other Democrats, would earn higher Medicare payments and some reduced fees for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) held out for larger Medicaid payments for his state (neighboring Massachusetts would get some, too).
As news of the agreements proliferated, Republican senators went to the floor to protest. ”This will not stand the test of the Constitution, I hope, because the deals that have been made to get votes from specific states’ senators cannot be considered equal protection under the law,” argued Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.).
Her Texas colleague, Sen. John Cornyn, took issue with White House strategist David Axelrod‘s claim that such deals are ”the way it will always be.” Said the Texan: ”Maybe in Chicago, but not in my state, and not in the heartland.”
Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) even disavowed Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback. ”Nebraskans are frustrated and angry that our beloved state has been thrust into the same pot with all of the other special deals that get cut here,” he reported. “
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