In an interview airing Sunday, January 10th on NBC News' Meet the Press, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger accused Congress of passing health care reform by "buying" votes.
Schwarzenegger claimed Sen. Nelson's (D-Nebraska) vote was bought. Nelson provided the pivotal 60th vote that brought the health reform bill to the full Senate -- he was promised, among other things, federal funding to cover Nebraska's entire cost of a Medicaid expansion included in the bill. (On Thursday Nelson said that this Medicaid deal should be extended to all states.)
Schwarzenegger told Meet the Press host David Gregory this was tantamount to saying "I'm holding out my vote, unless I get some extra kind of benefits here." The governor went on: "I mean if you do that in Sacramento, you know, you'll be sued. It is illegal to do that, to buy votes."
TRANSCRIPT, VIDEO BELOW
DAVID GREGORY: Is that how you think about health care reform? As something that ultimately would beat up on California?
GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, it is. Right now, it is-- and I just cannot imagine that 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?
DAVID GREGORY: You're talking about Senator Nelson?
GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER: Senator Nelson. That's like buying a vote. To say, "Hey--"
DAVID GREGORY: The Federal Government will pay for their Medicaid expansion
GOVERNOR 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'll be sued. It is illegal to do that, to buy votes.