Tag Archives: Ben Nelson

Several Key Senate Democrats Probably Want the GOP’s Scott Brown to Win the Massachusetts Special Election by Gregory Hilton

If State Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) wins the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacancy on January 19th, several Democrats might be relieved. The Senate balance would become 59 to 41, and a few moderates would no longer be on the hot seat. They would not be pressured to provide the crucial 60th vote necessary to pass the health care reform bill and other legislation.
Among lawmakers who might breath a sign of relief if the GOP’s Brown wins are Senators Blanche Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), Joe Lieberman (CT), Kent Conrad (ND), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Evan Bayh (IN).
These lawmakers worked as a team to stop the House passed version of the public option.
Lieberman spoke for many of them, “If the public option plan is in there, as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote because I believe debt can break America and send us into a recession that’s worse than the one we’re fighting our way out of today.” The Senators won on the public option, Nelson and Landrieu cut lucrative side deals with Majority Leader Reid, but since then the lawmakers have had to cope with outraged voters back home.
Nelson is running 30% behind Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE) in a hypothetical 2012 matchup, and has said it was a mistake to take up health care this year. Lincoln is 10 points behind her GOP challengers, and Lieberman has seen a 25% drop in his approval rating. It is no wonder all of these Senators are far from happy with the health care bill which passed the Senate.
The pressure on them to once again vote in favor of health care reform is enormous. Every one of these Senators has already made statements questioning the fiscal soundness of the bill. The lawmakers are also well aware of the gimmicks used to get the bill through the Senate. The increased taxes go into effect immediately but people will have to wait until 2014 for benefits. They also realize the bill is not deficit neutral, nor will it save money in the long run.
Finally, if Brown does win on Tuesday he should thank Senator John Kerry (D-MA). Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) was in office when Kerry began his 2004 presidential campaign. Democrats thought Kerry could win the presidential election, and they did not want Romney to have the power to appoint a Republican to fill a Senate vacancy until 2006. They changed the law to require a special election rather than a gubernatorial appointment in the event of a vacancy. If the law had not been changed Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) could have immediately appointed a Democrat to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacancy.

If You Can Not See a Difference Between our Two Parties: Let Them Come to Capitol Hill by Gregory Hilton

“There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. . . And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Let them come to Berlin. Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” — President John F. Kennedy, June 1963.

Let them come to Capitol Hill. That is how I would respond to anyone who claims there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. The stark contrast is readily apparent in today’s debate on health care reform. The announcement this morning by Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) means Obamacare now has a 60 vote filibuster proof majority. The bill has not yet passed the Senate or the upcoming House-Senate conference, but it is now difficult to imagine how we can win.
The Obama Administration has won a great victory. Every Senate Democrat is supporting the President and every Republican is in opposition. Many people complain about RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only), but I hope they will remember today. Lawmakers such as Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have disappointed us in the past, but they voted on the other side when we did not need them.
We needed all of the moderate Republicans on health care, and every one of them promised not to provide the crucial vote for Obamacare’s victory. Senator Snowe had four private meetings with President Obama on health care. Her colleague Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) also visited the Oval Office and received over $300 million for her state in exchange for supporting the President.
Senator Snowe could have gotten more, but despite heavy pressure all of the moderate Republicans refused to cross over. I watched Snowe in the Finance Committee and she obviously wants to vote for some kind of reform bill. She is a Republican however, and has acknowledged the present bill is fiscally irresponsible and poorly designed. I am definitely a conservative, but now I sure wish we had one more moderate Republican in the Senate to defeat the Obama agenda.
Senators have declared their position on a bill that very few people have seen. No one should die because the government rations health care, and no one should go broke paying taxes to pay for new entitlements. Free health care for everyone sounds wonderful. Unfortunately the government has nothing of its own to give us, it must first tax us to pay for it. Nothing is free. We do need a far better insurance system and tort reform, but government run health care has been a disaster for Medicare/Medicaid, the VA and the Indian Health Service.
We do need health care reform and lets begin by deregulating the insurance companies and putting a cap on law suits. That would be an excellent start to make things more affordable. Many tests right now are ordered just because doctors are afraid to get sued. The costs of litigation (successful and otherwise) are passed along to consumers, further driving up costs. The insurance industry is also heavily regulated, so our country is broken up into 50 separate markets, decreasing competition between companies.
The GOP is proposing vouchers for poor people, and a national market for health insurance so that competition across state lines will improve choice for everyone. Tort reform with caps on awards, and health savings accounts for insurance premiums. We want to help the 22.4 million currently uninsured Americans get health care coverage at lower costs.
Our proposals have been rejected. The gauntlet has been thrown down by the Democratic Party and now we have a clear issue to take to the American people during the 2010 campaign year.