Ben Nelson hails Harry Reid as talented leader and friend | Regional government
“It gave me a lot of leeway and a lot of flexibility,” said Nelson.
During negotiations, Reid proposed an amendment that would provide full federal funding for the cost of expanding Medicaid in Nebraska, subsequently setting off a political storm that spawned the term “Cornhusker Kickback” nationwide. .
Nelson said he saw the idea as “a placeholder” for the subsequent negotiation of a opt-out clause acceptable to all states.
“I didn’t have a closer friend,” said the former US senator and two-term governor of Nebraska, greeting Reid.
One fond memory, he said, is the day he was sitting on a tractor in Nebraska when the phone rang and it was Reid, who he “chatted with for 20 minutes.”
“He was a very direct person,” Nelson said. “He didn’t suffer from fools. His word was always good. He didn’t play games.”
Seeing the announcement of his death Tuesday night on television in Omaha was “a punch,” Nelson said.
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Reid praised Nelson’s action in providing the decisive vote for the Affordable Care Act in the face of strong political opposition to the bill in Nebraska in a passage from Nelson’s recent book, “Death of the Senate.”