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Conway pressed to challenge "sweetheart" deal

by Joe Arnold


Posted on January 8, 2010 at 4:30 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 8 at 12:45 AM

Kentucky Republicans are pressing Attorney General Jack Conway to join the attornies general in other states challenging the unequal burden of the Democrats' healthcare overhaul among U.S. states.  The "sweetheart" deal for Nebraska exchanged for Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) vote is a lightning rod.

Conway's position as Attorney General has already put him smack dab in the middle of the expanded gambling debate and now he has another challenge and opportunity in how his decision here affects his U.S. Senate run.  Conway could opt not to join the challenge and stay true to Democrats, including some national Democrats who have contributed to his campaign, such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.  Conway could also make political points in a conservative state by challenging the national Democrats on the way the deal was reached.

The issue has been pretty widely reported, but in case you missed House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover's news release, here is what he had to say: 

Representative Hoover Calls Upon Attorney General
To Challenge Health Care Legislation
            Frankfort, KY- House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover has urged Attorney General Jack Conway to join more than a dozen of his colleagues in challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform legislation now pending in Washington D.C. 
            In a letter hand delivered to General Conway signed by all 35 members of the House Republican Caucus, Representative Hoover cites not only the dramatically increased financial burden this bill would levy against Kentuckians, but also questions the “sweetheart” deals that were conspicuously added to garner support from certain Senators, most notably Nebraska and Louisiana. 
            “At a time when our Commonwealth and our citizens are fighting a battle against a $1 billion budget deficit and an 11 percent unemployment rate, the last thing we need is more financial hardship while other states won’t carry that same burden,” stated Representative Hoover
            Last month, a group of Attorneys General across the nation took part in a conference call to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the national health care bill, which hinges upon the vote of Senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska.  In exchange for his vote of approval, Nebraska would receive approximately $100 million in new Medicaid expense exemptions indefinitely.  This gift would force the other states to cover the price paid for vote buying.
            Representative Hoover added, “What has taken place is unacceptable.  Our Medicaid recipients should not face the prospect of losing their benefits nor should our limited resources for health care be diminished at the expense of paying for political favors beneficial to other states. Our caucus is unanimous in calling upon General Conway to recognize these actions violate the United States Constitution and encourages him to join his fellow Attorneys General in filing suit if this corrupt legislation is approved and signed by the President.”