ATLANTA – State government service cuts and tax increases could be an ancillary result of the health care bill now before the U.S. Senate, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue is warning.
“This bill places an unsustainable burden on the backs of Georgia’s taxpayers, and will lead to either higher state taxes or massive cuts to basic state services in years to come,” Perdue said in a statement. The Republican governor also took the opportunity to blast the legislation.
“If this reform was truly the right policy for our country, we wouldn’t see waffling Senators lining up like game show contestants hoping to win today’s jackpot of a special deal from Harry Reid,” the governor added. “I join Governors from around the country of both parties in asking our Representatives and Senators to listen to the public outrage against this bill and stop this mistake before it occurs.”
Senators have one more procedural vote before a vote on the legislation itself. The first vote – to limit debate – is slated for this afternoon and the final vote – on the bill itself – is scheduled for tomorrow morning. The procedural votes in advance of the final vote require 60 votes in favor.
“The finish line is in sight,” The Associated Press quoted Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., as saying at a news conference. “We’re not the first to attempt such reforms but we will be the first to succeed.”
Democrats say the legislation will provide coverage to an additional 30 million people nationwide.
On Sunday, in advance of the first of a series of procedural votes, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., blasted deals lawmakers made to ensure that all 58 Democrats and both independents are on board. For example, federal taxpayers are on the hook for covering the cost of new Medicaid beneficiaries in Nebraska – a provision Democrats added to gain the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
“We’ve reached a new day in this body. There have been deals cut behind closed doors that are going to provide benefits for individual senators and their states, whether it’s Vermont, Nebraska, or Florida,” Chambliss said in a news release. “That’s going to require those of us who didn’t have opportunity to participate in discussions and negotiations on this bill to represent citizens who are going to have to pay more for services that select states are going to receive. There’s nothing right about that.”
Some Republicans are questioning the constitutionality of the agreement.
Rasmussen Reports poll indicates 55 percent of voters nationwide – and 60 percent of seniors – oppose the bill.