Schwarzenegger On Ben Nelson's Kickback: 'It's Illegal to Buy Votes'
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday accused Senate Democrats of illegally buying a vote to get healthcare reform passed.
Talking with NBC's David Gregory on "Meet the Press," Schwarzenegger blasted the California Congressional delegation for "representing Nebraska and not us" during December's healthcare deliberations.
Taking the matter further, the Governor said, "[T]he Senate just voted for a healthcare bill that is saying basically that California should pay for Nebraska so that Nebraska never has to pay any extra money."
He added, "[T]hat's the biggest rip-off. I mean, that is against the law to buy a vote...if you do that in Sacramento, you know, you will be sued" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: This time we're going to go back with the four legislative leaders of California, Democrats and Republicans alike, and keep pushing and talking to the federal government and letting them know that it is unfair the way the money's being distributed right now. And so we also will inspire and push extra hard the California congressional delegation, the bipartisan delegation, because they're not being--representing us really well in this case. I mean, you know, if you think about that the Senate just voted for a healthcare bill that is saying basically that California should pay for Nebraska so that Nebraska never has to pay any extra money, and we have to...
DAVID GREGORY, HOST: To expand the Medicaid rolls?
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: To expand the Medicaid. And so if--we have to pay 3, $4 billion extra for those states?
MR. GREGORY: You said the president should rethink healthcare reform.
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Absolutely, because that's not healthcare reform, to go and to put that extra burden, billions of dollars, on other states, especially on California. Just because we're the best state in the world and the best place in the world and we are the most diversified economy and everyone wants to come to California is no reason to beat up on California and to always ask for more money from California.
MR. GREGORY: Do--is that how you...
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: I think it's time for the federal government to go and do--take care of us.
MR. GREGORY: Is that how you think about healthcare reform as something that ultimately would beat up on California?
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, it is. Right now it is. And I just cannot imagine why we would have, like I said, you know, for instance, you know, our senators and congressional people, how they would vote for something like that where they're representing Nebraska and not us. And by the way, as I said in my State of the State, that's the biggest rip-off. I mean, that is against the law to buy a vote. I mean...
MR. GREGORY: You're talking about Senator Nelson, who got...
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: As Senator Nelson. That's like buying a vote to say, "Hey, it's--I'm going"...
MR. GREGORY: The federal government will pay for their Medicaid expansion.
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: "I'm holding out my vote unless I get some extra kind of benefits here." I mean, if you do that in Sacramento, you know, you will be sued. It is illegal to do that, to buy votes.
Nicely said, Governor. Bravo!