Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is defending a special deal in the health care bill for the federal government to pick up more of the cost of a Medicaid expansion in her state.
Landrieu rebutted suggestions that Democratic leaders inserted the provision to secure her vote, calling the accusation an outright lie. The Senator also emphasized that there was nothing secret about the manner in which the measure ended up in the Senate bill, insisting that it was public and included lobbying efforts by all members of the Louisiana Congressional delegation and Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).
Landrieu said she would stay on the Senate floor until 6 p.m. Thursday to personally answer any criticism from her Senate colleagues, according to Roll Call.
“And if they don’t come, I would hope they would keep their mouth shut about things they know nothing about,” Landrieu said during impassioned remarks.
Landrieu told reporters following her floor speech that she chose to speak up because health care reform may not pass, and she wants to preserve the $300 million Medicaid funding no matter the vehicle, Roll Call reported.
“Suddenly I said to myself, maybe I should go to the floor of the Senate and explain this because it’s not clear to me what’s going to happen to the health bill,” Landrieu said.
She made the argument Thursday in a defiant speech on the Senate floor.
The health care legislation is in limbo, and Landrieu said she doesn't know what will happen with it. But with President Barack Obama and others criticizing backroom deals that were cut to get the legislation through the Senate, Landrieu is taking no chances that her $300 million deal will be sacrificed in last-minute negotiations.
She argued that the deal was not a trade-off for her vote and said she did it with bipartisan support to help the people of Louisiana.
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