It’s official. Sen. Jane English, who ran for the Senate on an anti-Obamacare platform, has announced she will give the Beebe administration the 27th vote it needs in the Senate to continue to implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.
She traded her vote for a pet interest — workforce education, including a commitment on how the state spends $15 million in job training in the first year and maybe $24 million in the second. That’s a lot of pieces of silver. Following its specific spending in the months ahead should be interesting, too.
From the archives, what Jane English said during her campaign for Senate in 2012:
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – State Senate candidate and District 42 State Representative Jane English (R-North Little Rock) today issued the following statement marking the second anniversary of President Obama’s health care law:
“Forcing Americans to buy a product as a function of being alive and the forcing of religious institutions to ignore their beliefs are just two of the reasons why I am opposed to the president’s health care law. As a member of the Arkansas House, I was proud to fight against the implementation of the law here in our state, as opposed to other House members who actively worked to advance President Obama’s agenda.
I wonder if President Obama might want to call Sen. English today to thank her for keeping his dream alive in Arkansas. The vote here has been watched nationally as a key marker for survival of the program.
Here’s Roby Brock’s interview with English on her switch. It’s all about jobs, see, not Obamacare or the tens of thousands of people it helps.
The changes that English has advocated – and that key legislators and administration officials have agreed to – include:
$15 million in existing DWS and two-year college funding tied to jobs training that will be administered by AEDC to meet existing industry needs;
*A coordinated effort by state agencies and private industries to identify 30,000 potentially unfilled Arkansas jobs;
* An assessment of the skills needed to fill those jobs;
* A reallocation of two-year school resources to put infrastructure and money in key areas of the state where job vacancies exist.
By the 2015 legislative session, the initiative will seek a top-to-bottom review of all job training programs at two-year colleges statewide and a possible realignment of nearly $24 million in workforce training money.
You’ll remember that the Koch brothers have given a pass to people like English who forsake their Obamacare vows this year. It’s a one-time-only pass. They don’t want to harm the election chances of Republicans by being seen as a tyrannical minority bent on punishing poor people — not during an election year. That will come next year, after they are re-elected.