Sen. Ben Nelson’s Deal With Democrats May Prompt Constitutional Challenge, Republican Says

By Susan Jones | December 22, 2009 | 9:21 AM EST

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)

( - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is blasting the deal Democrats made with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in exchange for Nelson’s vote to advance the health care bill.
In exchange for Nelson’s critical 60th vote to cut off debate early Monday morning, Sen. Harry Reid agreed that the federal government would pick up 100 percent of the tab for the planned Medicaid expansion in Nebraska – forever.
“Legally, I think other states can make a constitutional challenge,” Graham said in an appearance on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.
Instead of negotiating in public, there was a back-room deal, Graham said. “It goes sort of like this,” Graham said, imitating Democratic leaders:
“’What do you need, Ben, for this last vote? Well, I tell you what, Medicaid’s expanding under this bill for everybody in the country…Ben, what would happen if we let Nebraska expand their Medicaid enrollment and the federal government pay for it?’”
“’Done!’” Graham said, imitating Ben Nelson.
Said Graham, “I think that’s just incredibly inappropriate, that’s not change we can believe in, that is the worst in politics -- and this bill has no Republican support for one reason: If it becomes law, almost 80 percent of the people in the country will be under some form of government health care.”

Graham recited a list of things that are not fair about the Democrats’ health care bill – including the unfairness of giving a special deal to the people of Nebraska to get one senator’s vote “and not share that deal with the rest of the country.”