To retain votes in the Senate, the White House is now backing away from its ban on special deals for individual states, which was a promise the president made after the "Cornhusker Kickback" was revealed -- giving Nebraska extra Medicaid money to win Sen. Ben Nelson's vote.
From the AP:
The White House asked lawmakers to delete $100 million to build a public hospital in Connecticut inserted by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn. But the money will remain in the final bill, according to people familiar with Democratic negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose the unannounced decision. Less certain is the fate of other money the White House wants eliminated for Montana.
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., put a provision in the Senate health bill allowing many of the 2,900 residents of Libby to qualify for Medicare benefits. Some of them have asbestos-related diseases from a now shuttered mine.
"It simply doesn't make sense to ignore this obligation, or victims of these disasters," Baucus said.
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., won a Senate provision making it easier for longtime coal miners or miners' widows to get compensation for black lung disease.
The Senate bill also has extra money for hospitals and doctors in North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
Do House Democrats really want to be blamed for the Senate's corruption?