COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to the Associated Press.
"We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed," South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general, including Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, wrote in the letter sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
In a rare Christmas Eve vote, Senate Democrats pushed sweeping health care legislation to the brink of Senate passage, crushing a year-end GOP filibuster against President Barack Obama's call to remake the U.S. health care system. The 60-39 vote marked the third time in as many days that Democrats posted the supermajority needed to advance the legislation.
The letter was signed by top prosecutors in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington state. All are Republicans, and McMaster and the attorneys general of Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania are running for governor in their states.
Last week, McMaster said he was leading other attorneys general in an inquiry into the constitutionality of the estimated $100 million deal he has dubbed the "Cornhusker Kickback."
Meanwhile, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., took to the airwaves in his home state Wednesday to defend his role as the decisive 60th vote in favor of broad health care legislation. In a TV ad, he says he stuck by his principles throughout the debate.