According to a new New York Times article, strong bi-partisan opposition to the health care proposals dominated the National Governors Association’s summer meeting held this weekend. Opposition was led by Republican Jim Douglas:
“I think the governors would all agree that what we don’t want from the federal government is unfunded mandates,” said Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican who is the group’s incoming chairman. “We can’t have the Congress impose requirements that we are forced to absorb beyond our capacity to do so.”
The New York Times itself confirms the universal bi-partisan opposition:
But the sentiment among those who were [there] could not have been more consistent, regardless of political party. The governors said in interviews and public sessions that the bills being drafted in Congress would not do enough to curb the growth in health spending. And they said they were convinced that a major expansion of Medicaid will leave them with heavy costs.
Thank the Democratic Governor of Tennessee, Phil Bresden, for this sound bite:
Gov. Phil Bredesen, Democrat of Tennessee, said he feared Congress was about to bestow “the mother of all unfunded mandates.”
That’s a keeper. Any Democratic Congressmen from Tennessee want to own “the mother of all unfunded mandates”. Didn’t think so. Even liberal Democrats joined the choir:
“As a governor, my concern is that if we try to cost-shift to the states we’re not going to be in a position to pick up the tab,” said Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington, also a Democrat.
How about some resistance from a former Obama cabinet nominee:
“I’m personally very concerned about the cost issue, particularly the $1 trillion figures being batted around,” said Gov. Bill Richardson, the New Mexico Democrat who served in the Clinton cabinet and ran for president against Mr. Obama.
Ouch. Still some more:
“There’s a concern about whether they have fully figured out a revenue stream that would cover the costs, and that if they don’t have all the dollars accounted for it will fall on the states,” said Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., Democrat of Colorado.
Can’t let the Democrats have all the fun. How about ending with a Republican:
One of the proposals considered last week by the Finance Committee would have encouraged states to issue bonds to cover the costs of expanding Medicaid. Governors in both parties revolted, trumpeting their opposition in a conference call last week with Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who leads the committee.
“There is strong bipartisan opposition to the idea of the states issuing bonds to pay for operational expenses,” said Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “One governor said it would be like taking out a mortgage to pay the grocery bill.”
It appears the iron fist of Obama’s machine doesn’t reach the gubernatorial mansions and state houses. If this health fiasco wasn’t so close to becoming a reality, this rebuke would almost be comical.
True, governors have no vote and little influence in Washington. But they do have a bully pulpit in their respective states and the attention of their constituents; the same constituents represented by the hacks who will vote in Washington. Keep up the pressure.
Watching Obama sweat is so much fun; watching him fail will be sheer joy.