Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is up for re-election in 2010. Apparently, she's looking to be on unemployment rather than being paid to do work (yes, I'm being sarcastic). She voted to proceed with the debate on the Senate version of Obamacare. Yesterday, she voted to table the amendment offered by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) that would pretty much make sure any federal funds would not be used for abortions; this puts the Nelson amendment into the legislative "bit bucket" (I'm a computer geek).
Arkansas is a funny state; by funny, I mean weird. In the last 10 Presidential elections, the state voted for the Republican candidate 7 times (including McCain in 2008), only going for Democrats in 1976 (Carter) and in 1992 and 1996 (Arkansas' own Bill Clinton). Yet, five of the six members of Congress from Arkansas are Democrats, including Lincoln, despite how conservative the state is. The state has some of the most favorable pro-life laws allowed to exist under the shadow of Roe v. Wade. The Nelson amendment looks to make sure current federal law is not usurped by Obamacare, something the people in Arkansas would insist upon.
Yet Lincoln voted to table it.
In a press release she issued after the vote, she said the following:
“Unfortunately, the Nelson amendment would impose significant new restrictions by banning private health insurance companies that wish to sell their policies through health insurance exchanges from covering abortion, as they do today, even when that coverage could only be financed through private premium dollars."
The Nelson amendment is here (begins where it says "SA 2962.") and here (ends above "SA 2963."). It doesn't do anything suggested by Lincoln. What it does seem to do as far as I can tell is to make sure neither federal funds or financial benefits by the federal government (in the form of tax credits) be used to subsidize abortion except in the case where the life of the mother is in danger or when a pregnancy results from incest or rape. This isn't any different than what has been going on for the last 32 years.
Lincoln follows up the paragraph I quoted above saying the Baucus bill supports current federal law regarding funding abortions with federal dollars. First, if that were true, Nelson's amendment wouldn't have been needed. Obviously, the Baucus bill doesn't do any such thing. Second, current federal law, in the form of the Hyde Amendment, only has to do with appropriations for Medicaid and has to be renewed every budget period, meaning it can be removed from subsequent appropriation bills. So what Lincoln calls current federal law can change at any time. It isn't that Lincoln doesn't know this; she is deliberately obfuscating the issue in order to curry favor from her Democratic masters.
Blanche Lincoln isn't representing the interests of the very conservative state of Arkansas. Her support for the pro-abortion positions of this Obamacare travesty in the Senate go against everything the people of this state believe in, issues that can be seen in the laws the people of Arkansas support. Time to send someone in Lincoln's place to represent Arkansas in the U.S. Senate.