Ben Nelson, as most people know, traded his vote for reform in exchange for a lot of federal money for Nebraska, which is his home state.
The bill calls for the expansion of Medicaid to include more families near the poverty line (to 133%). Up until 2017 the federal government is in charge of covering it. After that point states must start helping. Except for Nebraska, that is.
Nelson got some other concessions, but this is the one that people are upset about. He claims it isn’t a special deal for Nebraska, but that seems disingenuous at best.
I’m just not sure why Nelson is so afraid of this. He keeps trying to frame it as though he did what is best for the country, though that argument doesn’t seem to hold much weight.
Now don’t get me wrong – I think what he did was slimy and a big reason Americans hate government. I wish he would have just decided what was right (preferably that our system needed reform) and made his decision. He took a different route and used his vote to get what he wanted. It’s wrong, but it happened. Now that it’s done, I’m not sure why he isn’t trumpeting it in his home state.
His ads here in Nebraska are about how he thought he was doing what was right. That’s well and good, but I don’t know why he doesn’t just come out and say, “I did it for Nebraska.”
This type of deal is why most Americans hate Congress but love their senators and representatives. This will make people from other states (SD) wary of Congress, but it should make Nebraska feel as though Nelson at least has their best interest in mind.
The frame could even work for Republicans, which he normally has to win at least a chunk of. He could make the argument that it was going to pass eventually, so he at least made it so their state would get some benefits without the cost. They may not like reform, but at least Nelson is saving Nebraska some money. This is a stronger argument than Nebraska Junior Senator Mike Johanns has, which is that Nelson is embarrassing Nebraska.
I am no fan of Nelson’s. I spent all summer trying to convince him that Nebraska wanted reform (back when we were still working on the public option). It was frustratingly pointless. We knew he loved the power he had and that he would use it. Now he has. He should just claim it and use it.
I understand you can’t necessarily just come right out an say these things, but insinuating something like this would be more believable than pretending you didn’t sell your vote. Stand up and proudly claim, “I sold my vote for Nebraska!”
I’m not sure if that made perfect sense. It was just a thought I had while watching football.
Enjoy the playoffs.
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