Well, thanks to Sen. Hatch, Sen. Bennett and Rep. Bishop’s idiocy, Utah can count on no goodies from the newly passed health bill.
As regular readers of my column know, I’m all about our Congresspeople bringing home the bacon. Other people may criticize earmarks and wasteful federal spending, but I say if they’re going to spend it — and you know they are — why not here?
The newly passed health bills in the House and Senate were ideal opportunities to clean up. The Senate vote, especially, was razor-thin on that idiotic rule that requires 60 votes to cut off debate. The final holdouts on the Democratic side were making some extremely lucrative deals for their states. Nebraska, for crying out loud, was running the entire nation for a few minutes there. Lieberman in Connecticut? He wrung those guys like a wet dishrag.
Criminy, can you imagine the opportunity that Hatch, Bennett and Bishop have let slip?
If they’d dangled the chance of a GOP vote for the bill in front of the House or Senate leaders, especially Sen. Reid, it would have been raw meat to a starving lion. It would have let the Utah guys cut the legs off those greedy Democrat holdouts AND assured Utah permanent funding for Hill Air Force Base, the state’s entire Medicaid budget AND a couple hundred miles of fully funded extensions to FrontRunner. It was a cash cow waiting to be milked.
And the chance of having Orrin Hatch jump the aisle? My God, the Democratic party, and President Obama, would have given them major body parts of Nancy Palosi, permanent funding for HAFB for the next 50 years, anything they wanted, just to get Hatch to vote for the bill.
And Orrin could have done it, too. He could have gotten a tear in his eye, said something nice about his dear friend Teddy Kennedy, and voted, and Utah voters would have pondered the lifetime of job security Hatch had just guaranteed them and made Orrin the state’s permanent senator for life.
But now the chance is gone.
Utahns without health insurance will benefit, sure, but there was so much opportunity there, and our representatives blew it.
One can only hope that, as the final bills work their way through the reconcilliation process, our representatives pull their heads out and start grabbing. Everyone else is, and Utah is in serious danger of being left out, yet again.
Yes, I know, this sounds snarky, but keep in mind: A heck of a lot of jobs in Utah depend on federal spending, not the least of which are defense related. If peace ever breaks out, Williams International could shut down and HAFB would be cut WAY back. Our congressional delegation’s job is to keep the sugar flowing, not get caught up in idealogically driven crusades that let Democratic states get cash we don’t. Hatch et al are working to better the GOP chances in the 2012 elections, and we know that, but those elections don’t bring money to Utah now, and now is when we need it. The leverage Utah has by being the most secure Red state in the nation is nil compared to the massive pile we could have cleaned up on if only Hatch had done a little bit of hard bargaining.
But then again, we’ve known all along that Hatch is more a creature of DC politics, not Utah. He’s only actually lived here long enough to get residency so he could run for the Senate and hasn’t been back since. Maybe it’s time Utah voters asked him, very seriously, just who the heck he works for, Utah or the GOP?
Hatch’s and Bennet’s and Bishop’s failure to play money politics in what is obviously the biggest grabest of the century gives one serious pause to wonder just how seriously they’re taking their jobs.