Sen. David Vitter has been a strident opponent of national Democrats' health care reform efforts in Washington and, in advance of his 2010 re-election, is seen as one of the GOP's most reliable votes on the issue. But, POLITICO reports the senator will have a difficult time deciding how to cast his vote on an amendment pushed by Republicans to strip some $300 million designated for Louisiana from the bill. (The artilce also notes Vitter broke with many in his party last week in voting for a bill guaranteeing preventive screenings for women.)
Last month, Vitter's Senate colleague, Mary Landrieu, inserted language in the health care bill that would provide up to a third of the estimated $900 million shortfall Louisiana is facing in its Medicaid budget. The issue has been a top priority for the Louisiana delegation, but Republicans say the issue is being used to "buy" votes on health care, with some conservatives going so far as to call Landrieu a "prostitute." Louisiana is facing the Medicaid shortfall due a to skewing of per capita income that occurred post Katrina, increasing the state's share of the costs. From POLITICO:
“I’ll have to consider it as it comes up for a vote,” Vitter said of an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) to strip the money from the bill.
Vitter, who has a chilly relationship with Landrieu, told POLITICO that he’s “extremely uncomfortable with it being on this bill — in particular, it is essentially buying support and buying votes on this bill.” On Monday, Landrieu strongly rejected the notion she was bought off, saying that “there was not a quid pro quo for that vote” and that it was the “No. 1 request” of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, to get the additional Medicaid money.
Informed of Vitter’s comments and asked how Vitter should vote, Landrieu said tersely: “Vitter should help his state, is what he should do."
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.