Revealed: GOP senator who railed against Obamacare and earmarks got $960,000 healthcare earmark

Revealed: GOP senator who railed against healthcare and earmarks got $960,000 healthcare earmark

By John Byrne
Monday, November 15th, 2010 — 10:24 am

Senator Ensign Revealed: GOP senator who railed against healthcare and earmarks got $960,000 healthcare A GOP senator who voted against the Democrats’ sweeping health care bill quietly got a healthcare stimulus of his own: $960,000 doled out to the University of Nevada for a Primary Care Residency Expansion program.

What’s more, the senator, Republican John Ensign of Nevada, has also joinedabout a dozen Republican senators in a crusade to end earmarks in the federal budget.

The special dispensation for the University of Nevada was created via an earmark, a legislative maneuver that directs funds to be spent on a specific project.

So not only did the anti-healthcare senator get a special healthcare program funded in his state, he also got it through an earmark, a process he himself claims to oppose.

The news was first reported by the liberal blog ThinkProgress, which obtained a letter from Ensign to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius requesting funding for the residency program in his state.

According to The Hill, Ensign has joined Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in DeMint’s proposal to ban earmarks.

“Ensign’s letter to HHS serves as a stark reminder that while Republicans have ludicrously smeared the health reform law with lies and demagoguery, in private they realize its benefits to their constituents,” ThinkProgress’ Lee Fang wrote. “Like every other GOP lawmaker, Ensign voted against the Affordable Care Act and like nearly every other GOP lawmaker, has pledged to repeal the entire law — including the grant program from which he requested money for his own state. Similarly, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has taken credit for Medicare improvements made possible by the Affordable Care Act, even though he too opposed the law. As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky has reported, Republican governors posturing as staunch opponents of health reform have quietly worked to quickly implement the law.”…

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