Gov. Riley criticizes "bribery" in U.S. Senate

Gov. Bob Riley (R)
Gov. Bob Riley (R)
Sen. Ben Nelson, (R) Nebraska
Sen. Ben Nelson, (R) Nebraska

Posted by: Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Governor Bob Riley is making it clear he opposes health care reform legislation making its way through congress. Early this morning, the senate got enough support to call for a vote. But Riley and other republicans say the process is the result of dirty politics.

The Senate democrats scheduled a vote on the newest version of health care reform on Christmas eve, despite attempts to block the vote by republicans.

Alabama governor Bob Riley blasted the process, calling it bribery.

"When you get to the point that you can purchase a vote, then I think all of us understand what that truly is," Riley said.

He and other republicans claim reluctant democrats like Nebraska's Ben Nelson got special deals. In exchange for his vote, the federal government would cover medicaid costs for Nelson's entire state.

"Why should they should pay for a special deal for Nebraska just to receive one vote?" asked Tennessee republican Bob Corker.

"Is it right for our state to be penalized in paying their proportionate share? I don't think it is," said Governor Riley.

Republicans also oppose medicare cuts in the new bill and taxes on businesses that don't offer health insurance.

"What will these taxes do to small businesses, which create 70 percent of the new jobs in our country?" asked republican Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

The democratic plan would require everyone to buy health insurance. And it would help the poorest families pay for it. Republicans say that's too much spending for a nation deep in debt.

The congressional budget office says the democrats' plan will save $132 billion in the first 10 years.

Even if it passes the senate this week, it still has to be reconciled with the house version, which includes government insurance and stronger limits on the use of public funds for abortions.

The nation's largest group of doctors, the American Medical Association, announced its support of the senate plan Monday. But many individual doctors say they still oppose it.

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