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Editorial: Obama Blinks


On April 30th, the Obama Administration sent to the California state government an unmistakably blatant letter threatening to withhold California's Medicaid “stimulus” money if a home healthcare workers wage cut was not rescinded. That letter came at the behest of SEIU union bosses.

Later, however, an Obama Administration official anonymously claimed the letter was sent out “inadvertently.” Of course, that was after the Administration realized that it was not going to get away with kicking California—and states' rights—to curb without a fight.

To its credit, California pushed back—hard—stating that the budget cuts were necessary to make up for a $23 billion budget shortfall. The truth is, California had every duty to act in its own interests as a sovereign state to save $74 million on home healthcare workers.

California's receipt of some $6.8 billion in federal stimulus, supplemental Medicaid money had been conditioned upon rescinding the cut, which reduces the state's maximum contribution to home health workers' pay from $12.10 per hour to $10.10 in July. Last week, ALG News and other media had called for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to uphold the principle of federalism, and to rescind the ultimatum.

Fortunately, Obama cowered when the blatantly thuggish Obama-union aggression was exposed. The Obama Administration was finally forced to back off its threat to withhold the supplemental Medicaid funds from California.

But make no mistake, the April 30th letter was no “inadvertent” mistake at all. The facts just do not allow that. SEIU had participated in a conference call with California and Washington officials on April 15th to threaten the state, explicitly making the case that Sacramento had violated the “stimulus” law. Was that “inadvertent,” too?

In short, the Administration lied. The lowly or highly placed official who claimed this was “inadvertent” is just lucky he or she did not give a sourced statement. Because that official should be subpoenaed under penalty of perjury for his or her role in this debacle.

The grimy underbelly of the Obama Administration has been exposed. The good part is that it's vulnerable and cowardly, and when exposed to sunshine it will backpedal. The bad part is that it then attempts to cover up its role. As the nation has learned more than once, it's the lying that will take down any Administration.

House and Senate panels should investigate what happened with the April 15th SEIU-California-Washington conference call. They should investigate what happened with the April 30th letter. Who knew what? And when did they know it? What was happening at Health & Human Services before Kathleen Sebelius was confirmed in the midst of the Swine Flu scare?

The fact is, California and the nation's capital stared eye to eye in a high-stakes game of states' rights. And the Administration blinked. They won't admit such, but that is what really happened.

Now, it is up to Congress to make sure that such a blatant abuse of federal purse-strings power is not allowed to occur again.


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