Republican Attorney Generals Threaten Lawsuit Over Nebraska’s Political Deal in Health Care Bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — 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 Wednesday.

“We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed,” South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision,” they wrote.

In a rare Christmas Eve vote, Senate Democrats pushed sweeping health care legislation to the brink of Senate passage, crushing a year-end Republican filibuster against President Barack Obama’s call to remake the nation’s health care system. The 60-39 vote marked the third time in as many days Democrats posted a 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 respective states.

Last week, McMaster said he was leading several other attorneys general in an inquiry into the constitutionality of the estimated $100 million deal he has dubbed the “Cornhusker Kickback.”

Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint of South Carolina raised questions about the legislation, which they said was amended to win Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson’s support.

“Because this provision has serious implications for the country and the future of our nation’s legislative process, we urge you to take appropriate steps to protect the Constitution and the rights of the citizens of our nation,” the attorneys general wrote.

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