Ben Nelson on Obama's SOTU 'horse-trading' remark: Who me?

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*Updated 1/28/10

President Barack Obama made his State of the Union speech on Wednesday evening and hit a number of issues, including: education, terrorism, and health care reform. Mr. Obama did point out some of the faults of the health care legislation. He particularly pointed out the issue of “horse-trading” being used during the health care debate.:

“I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people,” Obama said. “And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, this process left most Americans wondering what’s in it for them.”

Senator Ben Nelson (D - NE), who has been criticized for cutting a deal for Nebraska, in lieu of his vote for health care,that would mandate that the forty-nine other states in the union pay his state’s Medicaid in perpetuity, spoke to the Washington Times on Mr. Obama’s remark about the practice of horse-trading within the health care bill.:

“I think the president is talking about that it is time to work on health care. I could tell you that if legislation is continued on the basis of where things are now, the whistle-blower effort on my part will mean that all states are going to be treated the same, so I don’t think that was included in part of his horse trading [remark].”

Mr. Nelson also told the Washington Times that he would like to see further pro-life language in the final health care bill, but he was not sure if Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D - MI) pro-life language could stand the test of reconciliation.:

“I don’t know what that reconciliation process would consist of. I’m not even sure if that Stupak language would stand the test of reconciliation. I don’t know. I haven’t studied that.  I’m waiting to see what the House proposes, and we’ll take a look at it at that time, but yes, I would hope it would have Stupak language in it or Nelson-Hatch-Casey language in it.”

Mr. Obama also called for the repeal of the military policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Senator Bob Casey (D - PA) told the Washington Times, Congress was still talking to Military experts about it.:

“I think he’s going to be, and has already, but it will continue to as well, that the Congress will consult with military experts and see. We’ll see what the proposal is and examine it as we go. I thought this year we took a giant step forward by making sure the hate crimes legislation was dealt with at long last, so that was a good advancement.”

Mr. Casey also believes the issue should be debated in Congress and among the American people.:

“Well, I’m examining it my self, and I think there is an awful lot of relevant and important questions raised about it, and I think it’s worthy of Congressional debate and worthy of a debate with the American people about it.”

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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