Clyburn Says Reid Health Reform Deals Lost Massachusetts Senate Seat

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Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) “dealmaking lost a key seat in Massachusetts but eventually led to the right strategy to win the vote on landmark healthcare legislation, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Monday,” the AP reports.

Clyburn said the election of Republican Scott Brown to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat was a turning point in passing the overhaul last week. He said at the time, the Senate was pursuing a 60-vote strategy for the legislation to get around filibuster threats by Republicans.

To get there, Reid made several deals with lawmakers, including giving up the public option on insurance and giving $100 million in extra Medicaid money solely to Nebraska to help win support from that state’s Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. Dubbed the Cornhusker Kickback, it was eliminated in the revisions bill, but had caused a stir over such backroom deals that the Republicans pointed out.

"So he got 60 votes. Well, the problem is the Nebraska thing, more than anything else, caused the defeat up in Massachusetts," Clyburn said.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley “said he strongly disagreed with Clyburn’s assertion that deal making cost Senate Democrats the Massachusetts race.”

(credit image – getty)

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