Chris Christie goes to the legislature
The first report of the day came from Salvador Rizzo at The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey). (See also this Twitter feed from Politico.com.) According to Rizzo, Chris Christie will deliver his annual budget to the legislature at 3:00 p.m. today. He will include a program to expand New Jersey’s Medicaid program to cover 300,000 more people.
Rizzo relies on anonymous tipsters. They told him that Chris Christie assumes that revenues will rise by 4.9 percent to pay for this. He will also hold up rebates of local property taxes.
The reward: $300 million in federal subsidies under the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
Chris Christie last year
The governor said something strikingly different to Brett LoGiurato of Business Insider on July 9, 2012. Two weeks earlier, the US Supreme Court upheld Obamacare as constitutional. But as Grace Wyler of Business Insider pointed out, the Court limited the federal government’s ability to force States to expand their Medicaid programs. In answer to that, according to LoGiurato (see above), Chris Christie told the Brookings Institution:
That's a relief because Obamacare on Medicaid to the states was extortion. Essentially [the law] said, “You expand your program to where we tell you, and if you don’t, we’re taking all the rest of your money away.” Well, that’s extortion! It was in a whole bunch of nice words in a bill, but it was extortion.
So, I’m really glad that a majority of the Supreme Court still supports the position — as a former prosecutor — that extortion is still illegal in a country, even when it’s done by the President of the United States.
Now, of course, Chris Christie is expanding the Medicaid program anyway. Why, then, did he call it extortion nearly nine months ago? What changed?
Hurricane Sandy relief in the balance?
A correspondent of mine, who prefers not to give his/her name, has an idea:
Ever since [Hurricane] Sandy and the GOP convention, he has changed course and aligned with Team Obama. What a sellout!
What is that all about? It’s about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and the damage it did in New Jersey, especially down the Shore. Repairs in that part of New Jersey are still not complete. Two days ago, Herb Jackson and Linda Moss at The Record (Bergen, New Jersey) repeated this baleful warning from the White House: that the “sequester,” or the automatic 2.3 percent federal budget slowdown (not a true budget cut), would cut money available for those repairs by 9 percent this year alone. Kevin McArdle at New Jersey 101.5 (KXW-Trenton) asked a Republican Assemblyman how the “sequester” would affect New Jersey’s budget. Asm. Declan O’Scanlon essentially said, “We don’t know.”
Chris Christie changes alliances
Or maybe we do know – now. Not so much about the budget, as about what friends Chris Christie wants to make. Another source, who calls himself “The Eagle,” said this today to your correspondent by telephone:
Chris Christie is looking for new alliances. He has already alienated all the traditional Republicans. CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference] shunned him this year. You know what that does to anyone’s Presidential ambitions. So now he is looking ahead to 2016. And where is he looking? To the Progressive left.
The Eagle cited several things that Chris Christie has done:
Naming a gay judge to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Naming a Muslim judge to the Superior Court.
Insisting on his windmill project.
And now, says The Eagle, going along with Obamacare in his State.
“The shih-tzu dog is out of the closet,” said The Eagle, referring to a popular breed of “toy dog.” And, of course, to Chris Christie.
I hope I’m wrong. But the signs are all there.